Sep 18, 2014

Abbott cuts hurting North Queensland

Tony Abbott has sold out North Queensland in his first year in office, slashing funding for tourism and local road maintenance and hurting average families with his cuts to health, education and pensions.

A year after he was elected, Mr Abbott has also abandoned all domestic promotion of Australian tourism, with recent figures showing his careless approach has already caused a 2 per cent decline in the domestic tourism spending in North Queensland.

North Queenslanders have a right to be disappointed by the Abbott Government, which promised much in Opposition but has given them little more than spending cuts and broken promises.

Mr Abbott has:

  • Cut Townsville Hospital funding by $16 million over the next four years.
  • Reduced road funding grants to councils by freezing indexation of Financial Assistance Grants to councils.
  • Slugged families with a new GP tax that will cost them $200 a year per person.
  • Cut $5 million allocated for the Salvation Army Multi-Purpose Centre when axing Round 5 of the Regional Development Australia Fund.
  • Withdrawn $428,424 community infrastructure funding for the Townsville City Council.

North Queensland is a diverse and dynamic region that relies on tourism.

Yet Mr Abbott has cancelled all Commonwealth funding for domestic tourism and reduced support for industry research.

Mr Abbott’s lack of interest should not be surprising given the fact he still has not appointed a Minister for Tourism.

His approach is in stark contrast to that of the previous Labor Government, which provided record funding to North Queensland, including support for the tourism industry and a doubling of infrastructure spending from $143 to $314 per person.

The former Labor Government delivered record funding for the Bruce Highway including the Sarina to Cairns section currently under construction to improve safety and decrease travel times.

The expansion of Townsville Port, including defence and cruise ship facilities, has provided major boost to the local economy, as have the Port Access Road, the Douglas Arterial and the Cardwell Range Road Realignment – all funded, built and opened by Labor in office.

Labor chose Townsville to be one of Australia’s first NBN cities, connecting more than 15,000 homes and businesses.

We invested $250 million in the Townsville Hospital to improve health services for North Queenslanders.

More projects including the Townsville Ring Road and the Science Place at James Cook University, also funded by the former Labor Government, are all on track for completion.

North Queenslanders deserve better than Tony Abbott’s broken promises and funding cuts.