‘Very frustrating’: PM gets impatient with Premier
Queensland needs to build more critical dams to revive its economy, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said, as he expressed frustration at the State Government dragging its heels.
He has urged to state to get on with approving more job generating projects for the regions, including Hughenden Dam and Hells Gate.
It follows his four-day blitz of the state's regions, visiting towns still fighting to recover from the lingering drought.
Mr Morrison would not commit to a state employment target, with Queensland now having the highest jobless rate in the country of 7.5 per cent, saying that was up to the Premier.
But he said programs like the JobMaker hiring credit and building infrastructure would get Queenslanders back into work.
While he praised the state for it's commitment to projects like Copperstring 2.0 and Townsville Port, the Prime Minister told The Courier-Mail more needed to be done.
"I think water infrastructure has proved very frustrating," Mr Morrison said.
"Whether it's Hughenden Irrigation Scheme, or Hells Gate (dam) or any of these projects, we've gone through a lot of frustrations trying to get things like Emu Swamp and Rookwood Weir done.
"These things have to move more quickly that they have done."
Mr Morrison said
"Water is critical to Queensland's future, we do seriously want to invest in these projects, but that have to be approved by the State Government," he said.
"I hope we can make more ground on that.
"I'm not seeking to be critical about it, I'm just hoping during this last term of Queensland Labor Government that we can get more done on water infrastructure."
Rookwood Weir is currently scheduled to start construction in April, despite first being promised by then-Premier Peter Beattie in 2006 with a 2011 completion date.
The Federal Government has committed $54 million towards Hells Gate dam for a business case, and another $2 million towards a feasibility study for Hughenden Irrigation Scheme, with a promise of a further $180 million to go towards construction is it is approved.
The Palaszczuk Government announced an additional $6 million for design and construction tender documents for Emu Swamp Dam in February last year, while in September it announced an expert panel would look into the Bradfield inland irrigation scheme.
Mr Morrison praised the state's response to natural disasters, saying it was the best in the country.
"Queensland is the lead state when it comes to responding to natural disasters. They're very good to work with. Queensland sets a good standard on that because they have to deal with it more often," he said.
The Premier's office and Regional Development and Water Minister Glenn Butcher were contacted but declined to comment.
Originally published as 'Very frustrating': PM gets impatient with Premier