The Labor-Greens Government splashed $150million around the regions this week but couldn’t find a cent for Mackay.
Federal Member for Dawson, George Christensen, said almost 60% of the Regional Development Australia Funding money found its way to Labor MPs or Independents who support the Gillard Government while important projects from our region had all been ignored.
“Labor Governments at the State and Federal level have been ripping money out of this region for years and using it for their own political purposes,” he said.
Mr Christensen said rejected projects from the Mackay region included a gymnastics facility and the Whitsunday Motor Raceway.
“Gymnastics is very strong in Mackay and the shared facilities are extremely cramped,” he said. “We have a level 10 gymnast who will represent Australia in South Africa and she has to open the door of the training facility so she can start her run-up on the street.”
Independent Andrew Wilkie (whose support is critical to Prime Minister Julia Gillard retaining power) has two projects funded in his electorate of Denison, including $2.32million for an art sculpture park and $4.31million for a paediatric centre of excellence.
Other projects to win funding over Mackay/Whitsunday bids include $7million for an art gallery in Newcastle, $4.9million for a new Aboriginal Land Council office in Western Australia, and $12.3million for a theatre in Bendigo.
Mr Christensen said the Independents and Labor heartland were well looked after in this first round of the $1billion Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF).
“The Labor stronghold of Geelong scored a massive $20million out of this exercise,” he said. “That includes $10million for the Geelong Football Club to extend Skilled Stadium and $10million for a library and heritage centre.”