Media Release by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

Newman robs Peter to pay Paul

Joint Media Release with:

  • JENNY MACKLIN MP, Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Minister for Disability Reform

Premier Campbell Newman and the Queensland LNP Government are robbing Peter to pay Paul by announcing today that they will divert $12 million from a vital infrastructure fund to pay for critical seawalls in the Torres Strait.

Last year the Australian Government committed up to $12 million, including $5 million through the Regional Development Australia Fund, to build seawalls to help protect vulnerable Torres Strait Island communities against inundation.

We have heard the priorities loudly and clearly from the people of the Torres Strait, and we are investing more than $33 million to deliver long-term benefits for residents.

We asked the Queensland Government to show that same commitment and match our $12 million for the Torres Strait Coastal Protection Works project so that these communities could get on with this important work.

Today, Mr Newman and his LNP Government have announced they will contribute to coastal protection works in the Torres Strait – by axing $12 million from the Torres Strait Major Infrastructure Program.

This massive funding shortfall will put priority infrastructure works at risk, including the Hammond Island sewerage works and water infrastructure upgrades in Torres Shire Council and Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council.

The Major Infrastructure Program has been jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland Governments since 1998, and has been essential in improving the health, wellbeing and economic development of Torres Strait Islanders.

The Australian Government is investing in both the seawalls and other important local infrastructure, consistent with our commitment to sustainable communities in the Torres Strait and to historic shared funding arrangements in the region.

The Queensland Government must show that same commitment to the Torres Strait.