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Boat ramps back on election agenda

By Mark Beale

BOAT ramps were a major issue at the last State Government election in 2012 and they are shaping up to make the campaign agenda once again.

Particularly irksome to some of the Whitsundays’ most passionate boat ramp advocates is the fact the region has ‘missed the boat’ on the LNP Government’s next round of marine infrastructure funding for 2016.

Minister for Transport Scott Emerson has announced four projects to be delivered next year as part of the Government’s $50 million Marine Infrastructure funds, but the VMR boat ramp at Cannonvale has not made the list.

Current Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan denied accusations he had not been fighting for the region’s fair share saying he would “continue to bang the drum to enhance our infrastructure for our boating community”.

“I understand well and truly the importance of that part of our economy and what that means to tourism and local business and [I know] building boat ramps is part of that process,” he said.

Mr Costigan’s explanation for why the Cannonvale ramp had not made the cut was “I suspect the other projects elsewhere are nowhere near the big ticket item as VMR”.

“[But] I’ve got no doubt that if we get a mandate from the people to lease assets, as we hope to, we will have about $8.5 billion in a bucket and there’s no reason whatsoever that a slice of that couldn’t be used to build VMR,” he said.

Mr Costigan also said the current council had a share of the LNP Government’s Royalties to the Regions funds “and they’ve chosen to use that money for fixing the road to Collinsville”.

“Suffice to say that Royalties to the Regions funding could have been used to deliver an outcome for boaties right here in the heart of the Whitsundays so if people have a beef about that they should direct their enquiries to the local government,” he said.

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