Pitt vows region 'won't be held to ransom' over Hinkler deal
NEGOTIATIONS over the Hinkler Regional Deal have broken down, with Deputy Premier Jackie Trad penning an explosive letter expressing her "disappointment" in the direction taken by the Federal Government.
In the letter, sighted by the Chronicle, Ms Trad said the State Government had consistently expressed the view that the Regional Deal should include the entire Bundaberg and Fraser Coast local government areas.
The letter was addressed to Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals leader Michael McCormack, with Ms Trad saying Mr McCormack was "unwilling to negotiate on the Hinkler Regional Deal despite the Queensland Government's attempts to find a resolution".
The Federal Government has offered $173 million in funding for projects to benefit the Hinkler electorate, with many of them requiring further funds or approval from the State Government.
Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt entered the fray on Wednesday, saying his region would not be held to ransom by the State Government.
"The Queensland State Labor Government was ready to sign the Statement of Intent for the Hinkler Regional Deal on March 26, but withdrew its support less than 24 hours beforehand, with no explanation," he said.
"The residents of this region will not be held to ransom by a desperate Queensland State Labor Government and a Deputy Premier doing anything possible to deflect attention away from herself.
"Working in conjunction with the Cashless Debit Card trial, the Hinkler Regional Deal is an economy changing deal, which is providing vital infrastructure and job creating projects for the region, right now."
Mr McCormack said the projects would include $40 million for the Hervey Bay town centre redevelopment and an $85 million investment in Hinkler roads.
"The Hinkler Regional Deal is a pilot for delivery of new services to local communities and our Government has based the boundary on that of the Cashless Debit Card," he said.
"We are addressing difficult social issues and at the same time, driving the economy with infrastructure building projects.
"We want to get on and deliver the projects we have promised, just like we are doing with the Cashless Debit Card, the people of the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay region deserve nothing less."