Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

NAIF Failure, Says Ludwig

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

NAIF Failure, Says Ludwig

Article excerpt

Byline: Christine Mckee

LIVINGSTONE Mayor Bill Ludwig has issued a "wake-up call" to the two major parties, warning that regional Queensland will never be developed unless there was fundamental change.

"Forget about party politics. I'm saying to both sides, you've got to give us something that will work," Cr Ludwig said.

"We've got to come up with a real plan to grow the regions of Northern Australia."

He said the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility was a failure and in a meeting with the board he had told them so.

"We thought it was the best thing we'd heard for a long time," he said.

"This is national-building stuff, but they haven't delivered.

"Nobody's going to NAIF; it needs a component that's just direct grants, not low-interest loans that are so complex nobody's going there.

"If we are going to get fair dinkum, they need to look at it."

Cr Ludwig proposed that 10 per cent of NAIF's $500million annual budget should be made available as direct infrastructure grants to make Northern Australia an economic powerhouse.

"The Federal Government clearly needs a wake-up call, and if Northern Australia is to really go ahead, more realistic levels of infrastructure funding needs to be injected immediately.

"If just 10 per cent (of the $500m) of the promised 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."

He said the Great Keppel Island and KBSC convention centre projects did not get an invitation to move to a business case because there wasn't enough money in the tin.

"The Centenary of Anzac precinct is world-class and we couldn't get a dollar," he said.

"I'm not beating up on Michelle (Landry) for that, it's not her fault, but I'm saying to both Russell (Federal ALP candidate Russell Robertson) and Michelle, federal governments need to fix that. …

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