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29 June, 2021

Shadow minister visits region in wake of budget

DEB FRECKLINGTON made a surprise visit to the Tablelands last week in the wake of the state budget being handed down, talking to locals and seeing where money could have been better spent.

By Rhys Thomas

Deb Frecklington MP was in the region last week and spent time visiting local businesses in Atherton talking about the recent State budget.

DEB FRECKLINGTON made a surprise visit to the Tablelands last week in the wake of the state budget being handed down, talking to locals and seeing where money could have been better spent.

Mrs Frecklington, who was the leader of the LNP until 2020, is now the Shadow Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing and the Shadow Minister for Water and the Construction of Dams. 

She visited the southern Tablelands at the beginning of last week meeting with prominent community members and locals from the region, discussing topical local issues and the impact of the recently handed down State budget. 

Road funding, water and health services were some of the issues that Mrs Frecklington believes were overlooked in the recent state budget in relation to the Tablelands.

“We’ve got a $6 billion road maintenance backlog in Queensland and that is obvious now where you see the lack of extra road funding that should be coming into this region,” Mrs Frecklington said. 

“There is no money in the budget dedicated to increasing the water in this region for the agricultural producers. 

“I was very disappointed for this region like many regions in Queensland that there is not the support for the health services.” 

MORE WATER FOR TINAROO 

Water availability and quantity has been a big issue for many on the Tablelands for several years and was broached to Mrs Frecklington during her visit.

“The major issue is that we have a full allocation from the Tinaroo Dam and there is no water plan from the Palaszczuk Government for what we’re going to do going forward,” Mrs Frecklington said. 

“All of the water proposals need to be looked at, I’ve discussed the North Johnston with the council and the Three Weirs proposal as well. 

“The schemes need to be feasible, they need to have an outcome but more importantly we need the State Government to get behind a scheme that will mean more water into Tinaroo." 

IMPROVED HEALTH SERVICES IS VITAL 

Mrs Frecklington has thrown her support behind the many voices pushing for the Mareeba Hospital to have its own dedicated dialysis unit and is unsure as to why the new Atherton Hospital redevelopment is not adding any more beds.

“Mareeba needs dialysis, there is no funding in the budget for it,” she said. 

“Here (Atherton) whilst we welcome the new build of a hospital there is no new beds.

“We’ve got a brand-new hospital being built with the same number of beds that the old hospital has… it just doesn’t make sense.” 

KURANDA BYPASS OF ‘NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE’ 

The Kuranda Bypass Road is another issue that Mrs Frecklington has been keeping a close eye on in the past couple of months and she is interested to see where the steering committee for the proposed road goes. 

“The need for an alternate route is evident by the number of trucks, number of accidents and length of time that you have to wait on the range,” Mrs Frecklington. 

“If we want to develop and further develop over the range inland in Far North Queensland without a doubt we will need to have an alternate route to the Kuranda range. 

“It is a road of national significance, and it needs to be that but currently it’s a state road so therefore the State Government needs to be pushing and planning now.

“I’m interested to see how far the steering committee goes, I’ve already committed to talking to our shadow roads minister to get him to meet up with the steering committee.”

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