QLD royalties program labelled ‘slush fund’

Mount Isa state member Robbie Katter has slammed the Queensland Government's Royalties for Regions program as a government 'slush fund'.

Katter slammed the government after it rejected the North West council's application for round one funding, according to the North West Star.

Katter called on the government to explain why one of the state's major mining regions has missed out on royalties that it helped to raise.

"The fact that this government has allocated the first $60 million to council's not in resource regions reeks of a slush fund for their LNP mates, leaving power houses like Gladstone and the entire North West minerals province without a red cent," Katter said.

"The minerals province alone contributes more than $15 billion in revenue each year, from which the government rakes in royalties.

"The government promised Queenslanders that royalties would be returned to the regions from where they are derived to facilitate further industry development, not to build another highway for commuters in the south east corner."

The NSW government came under fire earlier this year following similar claims from mining regions that they were missing out on royalties.

Before the most recent election the current government promised to spend $160 million on infrastructure under its Resources for Regions initiative.

However by August only $10 million has been allocated to two Hunter Valley councils, in Singleton and Muswellbrook.

Gunnedah mayor Adam Marshall has slammed the state government for breaking its promise.

"In this basin last financial year the government collected about $50.3 million in mining royalties," Marshall said.

"None of that comes back directly."

Despite receiving $4 million in funding for infrastructure, the Muswellbrook Council spent it on a hospital instead, even though 13 other hospitals in the state were funded from the government's health budget.

"This is the only one funded from Resources for Regions and there will be a suspicion in the community that this really is not in addition, as the government promised, to its own obligations that it already had in this community, and that it's just using this money in diminution of those obligations."

In response the Government says it will carry out an audit this year to re-examine its current definition of "mining affected" so that more regions may receive funding.

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