'Dud deal': Blame game erupts as State Govt shuns agreement
CRACKS are emerging in the Hinkler Regional Deal as the State Government refuses to sign a key agreement on the transformative economic plan.
The agreement, which plots a path forward to support the economic development of the regional centres, was signed by the Bundaberg and Fraser Coast councils and the Federal Government on Wednesday.
A signature from the State Government has not been forthcoming.
The move caused friction between the different levels of government, with Federal Regional Services Minister Bridget McKenzie accusing the State Government on Wednesday of taking "a short-sighted political approach to regional investment”.
But Queensland Deputy Premier Jackie Trad told the Chronicle the State Government "won't sign up to a deal that excludes Maryborough and leaves other councils in the region behind”.
This is despite Maryborough being located outside of the Hinkler electorate.
"The Hinkler Regional Deal the Commonwealth is proposing isn't about delivering for the region, it's about protecting Keith Pitt at the Federal election,” Ms Trad said.
"The Queensland Government wants to see a genuine regional deal that includes the whole Wide Bay-Burnett region.”
Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders said the deal was "a dud from the beginning” and said Maryborough residents shouldn't foot the bill for Hervey Bay projects.
Hinkler MP Keith Pitt said the Federal Government would still deliver the Regional Deal in spite of the State Government's move but accused them of turning their back on the commitment.
"Queensland Labor need to see beyond the city limits of Brisbane and understand that the Hinkler region needs all the support it can get to stimulate economic growth and strengthen our communities,” Mr Pitt said.
The move comes as the Fraser Coast and Bundaberg councils continue to develop their priority project lists for the deal.
The State and Federal Governments are yet to outline their priority lists.
Under the Regional Deal, all three levels of government will work together to prioritise infrastructure developments and economic growth.
Similar City Deals in Townsville and Launceston have pumped more than $200 million of projects into their respective economies.
Bundaberg and Hervey Bay were selected as the pilot sites for the lucrative economic deal in November last year.