Vince Catania MLA has written to all WA Senators and his Federal Nationals Colleagues to ask them to support an amendment to the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Bill 2016.
“It is very disappointing that the bill was rushed through the House of Representatives last week without opposition from any Western Australian members of Parliament.” said Vince “However the senate has an opportunity to remedy this.”
In the current form this bill will exclude the shires of Carnarvon, Gascoyne Junction and Shark Bay from the area known as “Northern Australia”.
“This will be disastrous for the future economic prosperity of these regions – essentially they would be excluded from specific funding arrangements for investment in infrastructure in the “North,” said Vince.
Referring to the ongoing omission of these regions and the piecemeal approach to including them Vince said “I also call on the Federal Government to include the entire Gascoyne Region, formally to the definition of “The North” to ensure that every time a piece of legislation is passed or an announcement is made we do not have to fight each occasion to have these regions added.”
“Northern Australia” is currently defined as “North of the tropic of Capricorn” except for the Northern Territory where the whole state is included. Moves are now being made to include parts of Queensland where part of the region falls in “The North”.
Whether a town is in the North or not has a significant and material impact including exemptions and concessions for 417 and 462 visa holders, proposed tax changes, infrastructure investment and many other areas that will improve on the economic growth, industry, job prospects and liveability of Northern areas.
“Western Australians recognise that the North begins at the 26th parallel. That is where the sign has been for decades.” Vince added “and including only a part of a shire or region is ridiculous as well as an administrative nightmare. I am working with my Federal Nationals Colleague, Minister Matthew Canavan and I am confident that he has listened to my concerns and an amendment will be moved to ensure the Gascoyne is included. I hope all WA Senators will support this and stand up for the Gascoyne region.”