Hervey Bay's MP elect Adrian Tantari and Hinkler MP Keith Pitt.
Hervey Bay's MP elect Adrian Tantari and Hinkler MP Keith Pitt.

’Fallen over at first test’: Pitt sees red in deal disaster

A WAR of words has broken out over the Hinkler Regional Deal after there was confusion over whether incoming Hervey Bay MP Adrian Tantari supported the initiative or not.

It comes after Mr Tantari told the Chronicle both before and after the election he would support the state's signing of the deal only to claim on Monday there had been a misunderstanding.

Responding to the Chronicle prior to the election, Mr Tantari said he would act to support the Hinkler deal, no matter who was elected to govern Queensland and work immediately to get the deal done.

"The deal benefits the people of the Hervey Bay electorate and my role if elected is to put their interests first," Mr Tantari said at the time.

He reiterated that promise this week, but told the Chronicle on Monday he had misunderstood the question and his support was in reference to the Wide Bay Regional Recovery Plan not the Hinkler Regional Deal.

Questions remain over whether Mr Tantari had been forced to revise his position on the deal or simply didn't understand which project was which during the campaign.

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt yesterday slammed the "sensational backflip" by the Labor member elect for Hervey Bay and claimed Mr Tantari had "fallen over at the very first test".

"Mr Tantari has misled the voters of Hervey Bay by backtracking on his support for the Hinkler Regional Deal, which he stated both during the election campaign and (on Monday) in the local media.

"He claims to have been confused between the Hinkler Regional Deal and another economic plan but really he's in damage control or has been living under a rock.

"Will he stand up for Hervey Bay? The answer is no.

"Sadly I'm not surprised that the ghost of Jackie Trad remains in the Queensland Government and the Labor member elect for Hervey Bay has jumped the gun without endorsement from his union masters.

"The Premier only just flew in and already the region has been forgotten.

"The Queensland State Labor Government has once again shown its utter contempt for the people of Hervey Bay and regional Queensland.

But a spokesman for the State Government said Labor had always been clear about its position in regards to the Hinkler Regional Deal

"The government does not support a deal for a specific federal electorate when the whole region deserves support," he said.

"That is what the Palaszczuk Government is already delivering and will continue to deliver for the entire Wide Bay community - including contributing funding towards the overtaking lanes on the Isis Highway.

"As previously stated, the government will not stand in the way of federal government investment and continue to work with the federal government."