‘Beer tabs for east only’: MP hits back on Oakajee port funds
A Nationals MP has accused the Federal Government of trying to steal back $339 million of infrastructure funding from Geraldton and the Mid West.
Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison this week told The West Australian the Government would not re-purpose federal funds allocated to the scrapped Oakajee port project.
“The commitment from the Rudd government was for an equity investment, not grant funding, and was specific to the Oakajee project,” he said.
But Nationals WA Member for Moore, Shane Love, questioned why the funds could not be reinvested into other priority projects in the Mid West.
“The funding would give a much needed stimulus to the region’s economy and many flow-on social benefits for the region,” he said.
“How dare the Treasurer come to our State and announce he will be stealing back funding flagged for the Mid West at a time when WA is already grappling with our paltry GST share.
“The Treasurer is completely out of touch with the situation WA is facing because he, and his federal colleagues, are busy looking east towards NSW, Victoria and Queensland.
“Apparently federal funding is ‘not a beer tab’ unless you live on the east coast.”
Mr Morrison had earlier told another media organisation the Oakajee funding was “not set up like a beer tab that was transferable”.
The Nationals Member for the Agricultural Region, Colin de Grussa, called on the Liberal federal Member for Durack, Melissa Price, to press the Government on the issue.
“Melissa Price has a responsibility to stand toe-to-toe with the Prime Minister and Treasurer to ensure the Oakajee funding is not rolled back to fund projects on the east coast,” he said.
“Talk is cheap and Ms Price must hold firm on this important issue not pander to the eastern-centric agenda put forward by the federal government.”
Member for the Agricultural Region, Martin Aldridge, said there were a number of road freight priority projects in the Mid West, including heavy vehicle bottlenecks in Northampton and Geraldton and a partial development of the Oakajee Narngulu Infrastructure Corridor that would benefit from the funding.
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