Article – Outback Qld mayor urges more investment in remote regions 'punching above their weight'

10 December 2014
Chrissy Arthur
ABC News
A south-west Queensland mayor says governments at all levels need to focus their investment in areas already producing good returns for the economy.
Quilpie Mayor Stuart Mackenzie said there was too much focus on negative aspects in the bush, like drought and lack of services.
He said while it was important those issues were highlighted, remote regions were already incredibly important to the economy and government investment should reflect that.
“Our gross regional product for the Quilpie Shire works out at $220,000 per person – that is basically our net contribution to the Australian economy, so what we produce, less what it costs to do that,” he said.
“Now that is right up with the highest in the country, and in fact our neighbour’s, the Bulloo Shire, is even higher than that again.
“There is no doubt we produce more per capita than most areas.”
He said leaders should be pushing the value of investing in areas that were already “punching above their weight”.
“The message that really should be going down there, whether we are having drought or not, is just how much we produce,” he said.
“The Treasurer talks about ‘leaners and lifters’, well we are the land of the lifters out here.
“People where the political power is don’t see the bush as being such massive contributors.
“We actually have the capacity to increase that, so it make sense to invest in those areas where you can get a larger capital return.”
Courtesy of ABC News