Calls for more cash to be splashed in Mackay.
Calls for more cash to be splashed in Mackay. Contributed

Royalties for regions battle: Claims Mackay 'short-changed'

THE State Government has defended its investment in Mackay's infrastructure projects as the LNP claims regional Queenslanders are being "snubbed" and are not receiving the "infrastructure they deserve".

State member for Mackay, Julieanne Gilbert, said the government was delivering the biggest capital works program since the flood recovery in 2011.

However, LNP shadow minister for natural resources, mines and north Queensland Dale Last said despite an extra $1.9 billion in royalties, reinvestment into the communities that produced the royalties was not happening.

Ms Gilbert said, "Our infrastructure program spends more than $600 million in Mackay, on initiatives like the Mackay Ring Road, Peak Downs Highway realignment (Eton Range), the Sarina Hospital redevelopment and more - directly supporting more than 2000 jobs in our region."

But Mr Last said lack of investment had created an "infrastructure crisis".

"Debt is now projected to reach over $83.5 billion by 2021-22, an increase of $412 million since the Budget - all without the necessary investment in infrastructure to show for it.

"Labor should be investing the money from the coal royalty windfall in job-creating infrastructure like the Bruce Highway, Peak Downs Highway, Mackay Ring Road, important water infrastructure, school buildings as well as other regionally significant projects - not just on public service wage blowouts."

Greater Whitsunday Alliance CEO Garry Scanlon said it was important to continue to "shine a light on the need and keep advocating for the government to reinvest in the region".

"As a regional development office we think the region's being short-changed and we'd always like to see more investment," Mr Scanlon said.

He said the Bruce Highway, Peak Downs Highway and Mackay Port Access Road (Mackay Ring Road) were all good opportunities for investment that would further the region's economic development.

Next year, he said, he'd like to see the continuation of the Peak Downs Highway and the Goorganga Plains Crossing just outside Proserpine.

"I'd also like to see the State Government invest in and commit to their share of the Mackay Port Access Road."

He said it was vital that one of Australia's largest mining precincts was supported and investment was made in social and tourist infrastructure.