Northern-based LNP Senator Ian Macdonald has labelled the Labor Party’s Central and North Queensland Taskforce as narrow visioned and a desperate attempt to fill a policy void.
Senator Macdonald’s comments were in response to a paper outlining the Labor party’s Central and North Queensland Taskforce, which was announced by the Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten in December.
“If the Taskforce is the best that Labor can come up with, voters across the north should be very concerned, especially given State Labor Minister Grace Grace’s recent comments about youth unemployment,” Senator Macdonald said.
Last week, Ms Grace was quoted as saying there wasn’t much that could be done to solve the issue of youth unemployment, and that it had been around for decades.
Meanwhile, the Turnbull Government has made billions of dollars available for catalytic infrastructure investments, and invested hundreds of millions more in specific programs in Northern Australia, including:
- $5billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) concessional loans program
- Government to legislate in first sitting period next month to include debt guarantees to work in tandem with NAIF and attract investment
- $600m priority roads program assessment and planning in progress
- $200m Water Development Fund feasibility study applications being assessed
- $100m beef roads assessment in progress
- $75m Northern CRC established and interim chair appointed, to name but a few.
Senator Macdonald said it appeared that not even the Labor party’s own North Queensland candidates could be bothered to talk about the policy sham, with neither Cathy O’Toole, the candidate for Herbert, or Frank Gilbert, the candidate for Dawson, making any mention about the taskforce on their social media pages.
“The silence of the Labor Party in relation to developing and growing the North’s economy has been deafening and this latest attempt is just another pitiful attempt to dupe the electorate into thinking they actually have a plan,” Senator Macdonald said.
“This so-called taskforce has about the same amount of credibility as former Labor leader Kevin Rudd’s grandiose vision to create a special economic zone in Darwin, only this time, the Northern Territory and Western Australia don’t even get a guernsey when it comes to Labor’s plans to develop the North.
“Even the taskforce chair, Jan McLucas, has been bumped in favour of a southern-based union hack. It seems their contempt for the north knows no bounds.”