One of the major ‘battlegrounds’ in the fight for who will secure the seat of Capricornia in the upcoming federal election will be on the Capricorn Coast.
Mayor Bill Ludwig said since the last federal election the Capricorn Coast has seen a worrying decline in Federal Government funding support for critical job creating projects and major infrastructure.
“Capricorn Coast voters don’t like being taken for granted and have a history of putting party politics aside to back the candidates that will guarantee the critical project funding our community desperately needs and deserves,” Mayor Ludwig said.
“This week, two more critically important funding applications for both GKI infrastructure ($25 million) and Keppel Bay Sailing Club’s (KBSC) regional convention centre ($25 million) were both rejected without even being given the opportunity to advance to putting up a competitive business case.
“This is not just a huge blow for the Capricorn Coast but for our entire region. The $800 million dollar GKI revitalisation will create up to 1500 new fulltime jobs and represents one of the biggest private sector investments our region has ever seen.
“These projects will also generate hundreds of construction jobs and supply chain opportunities for both Capricorn Coast and Rockhampton businesses.
“Importantly, the proposed KBSC convention centre will leverage off the foreshore and lagoon redevelopments to attract State and National conventions once again generating up to 200 full-time jobs and diverse career opportunities.
“The Federal Government clearly needs a wake-up call and if Northern Australia is to really go ahead, more realistic levels of infrastructure funding need to be injected immediately.
“If just 10% ($500 million) of the promised Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund (NAIF) funding was available annually as direct infrastructure grants, it could transform our region and the rest of Northern Australia into the economic powerhouse it should be.
“Another classic example of our frustration on the Capricorn Coast has been the ‘world class’ Emu Park Centenary of Anzac Precinct and Foreshore Revitalisation Project.
“Livingstone Shire Council ($3M), State Government ($2.3M) and combined private sector, community groups and local families ($780,000) have all dug deep to support this amazing project that is now generating tourism and local jobs.
“Incredibly, the Federal Government has continued to refuse all requests for funding support except for $135,000 which Council secured indirectly through a Queensland Government administered tourism fund.”