MP takes 'shameful' budget to task
CALLIDE MP Colin Boyce did not mince his words when it came to this year's State Budget.
The first time MP called the budget "shameful", saying Callide, which he described as the "economic engine room of Queensland", had been left out entirely.
"This is a shameful budget that ignores the money-making people of my electorate," Mr Boyce said in his budget reply speech.
"As the mayor of the North Burnett council has said, this is a double-dipping budget that has no new money for Callide."
My Boyce delivered his speech in Parliament on Thursday, June 14.
He touched on key issues impacting the North Burnett, including agriculture, water supply and roads, saying Callide had effectively been ignored.
Here is some of what Mr Boyce had to say:
"Agriculture is trying to flourish in the Callide electorate, despite the Labor government's efforts to stifle it," Mr Boyce said.
He referred to Mundubbera's $100 million fruit industry as an example.
"The Smart Berries farm alone is estimating a 1,000 tonne crop, with earnings projected at being between $35 million to $50 million," he said.
"It employs up to 500 people at its peak, yet there is no mention of water security for agriculture or the construction of the Cooranga Weir on the Boyne River that these irrigators and farmers so desperately need."
Mr Boyce said the government needed to prioritise water supply in Callide.
"It is very simple: if you have water, you have jobs," he said.
"Water supplies to this vibrant industry are expected to cease in August or September this year, with water levels in the Boondooma Dam reaching the 30 per cent level at which irrigation water allocations will cease.
"Citrus on the Boyne is also expecting a $20 million production and employs 300 people. That is another 300 jobs at a time when the unemployment figures need assistance, especially the youth market where unemployment levels are approaching 50 per cent in rural Queensland."
In his speech, Mr Boyce said roads were another major concern, especially when it came to agriculture transport and supply.
"These roads and highways are the essential networks to link our hardworking agricultural environmentalists to the hungry mouths in the south-east electorates," he said.
"There are at least 2,800 kilometres of state controlled roads in Callide. Some of these roads have sections that remain unsealed and they are dangerous. We have had recent road fatalities as a result."
As Mr Boyce pointed out, the Warrego Highway got a mention in the budget, but it was a re-announcement of a project already well under way.
Mr Boyce called on the State Government to boost regional health services in his electorate.
"Surely some of these funds could have gone to support the health services in my electorate. Only Gayndah and Eidsvold rated a mention and again were re-announcements of projects already begun," he said.
"The hospital at Chinchilla, the largest district in the Callide electorate, has received no funding, and maternity services have been on bypass."