21 May 2024

'Rain shadow' as Cape left in budget dark: Entsch

| Lyndon Keane
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Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch says he is disappointed in the Federal Government’s 2024-25 budget, adding he believes it has failed Cape York and the Torres Strait. Photo: Supplied.

Cape York and the Torres Strait have been “pretty much totally ignored” in the Federal Government’s 2024-25 budget, according to veteran Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch.

Treasurer Dr Jim Chalmers unveiled where the government will spend its money over the coming 12 months on 14 May, with almost no reference to the northernmost part of Queensland in hundreds of pages of budget documents.

Cape York and Torres Strait stakeholders continue to pour over the budget, but Mr Entsch said it was difficult to find any commitment to the region.

“I think it’s fair to say Cape York and the Torres Strait have been left in a rain shadow,” he told Cape York Weekly.

“I look at this budget and there’s a lot of a little sweeteners there; it’s an election budget and they’re not dealing with a lot of the challenges we have.

“We’ve been pretty much totally ignored.”

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Mr Entsch said he was disappointed the government appeared to have no intention of matching the $4 billion allocated to the Northern Territory for remote housing, while the Peninsula Developmental Road seemed to be completely forgotten.

“There’s $4 billion in there for housing for the Northern Territory, but there’s nothing I can see for our communities up there,” he said.

“My understanding is that there’s a top-up required for stage two [of the Cape York Region Package] and that’s not referenced at all; we’ve got to start hunting for that again.”

Political pundits have speculated the budget could signal Prime Minister Anthony Albanese intended to call an early election, something Mr Entsch said would not surprise him.

“I wouldn’t be surprised, I wouldn’t be surprised; it would be late this year or early next year, that would be my guess.”

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