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Katter to Truss: put a fig leaf over your offending shortcoming

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For more information or a comment from Bob Katter please contact Kelly Thompson 0418 840 243

Katter to Truss: Put a fig leaf over your offending shortcoming 21 May 2015: KAP Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter today labelled the Nationals hypocrites over their approach to the National Stronger Regions Funding allocation, which saw the electorate of Kennedy criticised for too much funding in one breath yet saw inner city suburbs in Melbourne allocated funding in the next.

The Kennedy electorate received funding for projects at Charters Towers to upgrade water infrastructure, Mareeba and Mount Isa for the upgrade of wastewater treatment and sewerage plants and Burke Shire Council for the construction of a pontoon wharf.

Yet the inner-city suburb of Abbotsford in Melbourne, as well as outer suburbs of Craigieburn, Sunshine, Ringswood and Keysborough, also received funding under the allocation designed for regional communities.

“Early this week the Nationals were crying out that the program had given too much money to Kennedy,” Mr Katter said.

“Well they certainly solved that problem, they’ve given the funding to inner city Melbourne.

“Last time I checked regional meant non-metropolitan; their own Government Departments have defined regional Australia to mean all of Australia outside of Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Wollongong, Newcastle and the Gold Coast.

“Perhaps someone should explain that to the Minister and the Government,” Mr Katter said.

Mr Katter attacked the Nationals’ leader for constantly making allocation decisions on the basis of votes rather than the needs of the people.

“I have seen some ignoramuses in my time, but the Nationals’ leader really takes some beating.

“He has a consistent pattern of behaviour which has never taken into account the needs of the people; rather it is all done on the basis of political gain.

“To sell out regional Australia - which is in its worst period of drought since federation, when a farmer is doing away with themselves every six days and probably worse in our rural towns, and where jobs are about as common as a feathered frog - in favour of the city urbanites is just unthinkable,” Mr Katter said.

Mr Katter said that from the outset the National Stronger Regions Fund worked against smaller and rural Councils who couldn’t afford to apply for funding given the requirement to stump up half of the project costs.

“The criteria dramatically militates against rural Councils applying, they simply don’t have the money.

“Farmers can’t pay their rates and the Councils have no real income base, even more so since the Financial Assistance Grants funding to Councils has been cut.

“In my electorate the Croydon Shire Council needs funding for an all-weather Emergency Landing Strip so that the Royal Flying Doctor Service can land, but they can’t meet the 50 percent contribution, and the absolute tragedy is that two people have died already who shouldn’t have.

“Mornington Council needs a new jetty and Jetty Precinct upgrade, but they too don’t have the resources to put up half of the cost.

Hon Bob Katter MP Federal Leader

It's the principle of it Member for Kennedy

For more information or a comment from Bob Katter please contact Kelly Thompson 0418 840 243

“Yet the National Party cannot get it out of their heads that public money has to buy votes, it is the hallmark of their party policies over the last 20 years.

“But if you appropriate money for a purpose other than which it was given, then that is misappropriation and you can go to jail.

“Perhaps the Nationals leader is too brainless to realise that if he’s going to do that he should at least put a fig leaf over his offending shortcoming,” Mr Katter said.