Maryborough must be part of Hinkler Regional Deal: Trad

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STATE Treasurer Jackie Trad says she can only commit funding into the Hinkler Regional Deal if Maryborough is included in the scheme.

Ms Trad said it was unfair to economically divide Wide Bay and exclude its key cities because they do not fall under one federal electorate.

She supported the deal in principle, which offers $173 million in federal funding, and was willing to negotiate with Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack , but said there needed to be flexibility to include Maryborough.

“They are not fair dinkum about good faith negotiation, they announced this without any consultation with us originally,” Ms Trad said.

“As a Queenslander I can’t exclude a very important part of Queensland’s regional community from what is a good economic reform program.”

Her comments came as Hinkler MP Keith Pitt launched an online petition calling on the State Government to commit to funding for new projects under the Hinkler Regional Deal.

“When will she stop treating the residents of regional Queensland like second-class citizens?” he said.

“If the Deputy Premier wants to be a part of the Hinkler Regional Deal what new funding will the State Government commit to new projects?

“The Queensland State Labor Government had the opportunity to sign up to the Hinkler Regional Deal back in March but withdrew support 24 hours beforehand.”

Mr McCormack agreed, saying it was time for the State Government to come to party so everyone could get on with the job of delivering projects for the region.

“The Australian Government has been very clear about the boundaries of the Hinkler Regional Deal from the outset,” he said.

Negotiations with the Deputy Prime Minister broke down earlier this year when he rejected the condition to include Maryborough in the deal.

“I was happy that there would be a soft boundary to the regional deal – so not explicitly put Maryborough in there, but not have a hard boundary,” Ms Trad said yesterday.

“I was prepared to come to this with a compromise…but the Deputy Prime Minister just will not entertain it.”

The Federal Government could continue to fund projects under the deat and the State Government would not stop them from doing this, but it would not add its own funds into the projects aside from $9 million for road projects,” Ms Trad said.

Member for Wide Bay Llew O’Brien said the Hinkler Regional Deal was based on the same boundaries as the Cashless Debit Card.

“Jackie Trad has never made any approach to me proposing a deal for Maryborough, but I don’t need a piece of paper signed by Jackie Trad to continue to deliver for Maryborough,” he said.

“In the past year alone, I’ve secured $28.5 million to bring Nioa Rheinmetall to Maryborough, $18 million to secure a water supply to sustain Maryborough’s cane growers and MSF, and an Industry Training Hub to be located in Maryborough.

“I’ve gone into bat for Maryborough and achieved these commitments without any involvement from her.”

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