BRISBANE, AAP – The federal government is holding Queenslanders to “ransom” by only delivering half of a promised $1.6 billion in infrastructure funding before the next federal election, the state government says.
The Morrison government has added another $15 billion to its 10-year infrastructure pipeline for road and rail projects in state and territories.
State Treasurer Cameron Dick was already fuming that South Australia, with a population of just 1.77 million, is getting more funding than Queensland with a population of 5.18 million.
He says the budget papers show that just over $800 million will be delivered over the forward estimates, meaning the remainder will come after at least one and possibly two more federal elections.
“Tonight, we have learned the truth: only $807.5 million of that supposed $1.6 billion, barely half of the amount promised, is in this budget,” Mr Dick said in a statement.
“Scott Morrison is holding Queenslanders to ransom, saying they’d have to vote for him in at least two more elections before we’d see the money he promised.”
He his state would also receive a smaller amount of federal infrastructure funding than “Liberal states”, particularly South Australia which has a less than half of Queensland’s population.
The federal budget papers forecasted that Queensland will see much more population growth than any other state between now and 2023.
“NSW gets nearly twice as much infrastructure investment as Queensland, while a city the size of Rockhampton effectively moves north here across the border,” Mr Dick said.
“Scott Morrison’s failure to deliver for Queensland is written in black and white in the pages of this budget.”
The prime minister said the state would get 20.7 per cent of the total infrastructure funding pool over the next decade despite having only 20.2 per cent of Australia’s population.
“All this politicking and grandstanding, and carrying on, and name calling that we keep seeing from the Queensland government is frankly is quite juvenile, and we’ve got a pandemic to fight here,” Mr Morrison told 4BC Radio.
“So I’m not interested in those juvenile and undergraduate games.”
While Mr Morrison was scathing of Mr Dick, he didn’t criticise Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
The prime minister said the federal government was entering a 50-50 funding deal with the state for Brisbane’s 2032 Olympic bid on top of other infrastructure funding.
“I’ve got a mature relationship with the Queensland premier, and I’ll continue working with Anastasia Palaszczuk to ensure that we can deliver for the health and jobs of Queenslanders,” he said.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland backed the budget’s regional infrastructure and skills training investment, but said it could have done more on tax reform.
The Queensland Council of Social Services backed the budget’s spending on aged care, child care, mental health and domestic violence services.
But it said a proper response to the domestic violence crisis needed to include income supports and safe and secure housing for victims.