Today in Question time I asked the Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce the following question:
Why do the budget papers show that of the $80 million dollars allocated to the beef roads program less than half has actually been invested upgrading the roads the cattle industry relies on, how much of that money was spent in the Northern Territory and how many kilometres of roads were addressed?
In response the Deputy Prime Minister simply could not answer the question, he waffled for a couple of minutes , but nothing to do with the question which was asked.
So we are none the wiser about how much of the beef roads money has been allocated and spent, in particular in the Territory. And this is because the Deputy Prime Minster and leader of the National Party is not doing his job and is clearly not up to it.
Territory Beef Producers have a vital interest in this program. There are 9000km of unsealed roads serving the Beef Industry in the NT. The Northern Territory’s cattle industry, plays a crucial role in the Territory’s economy. Every kilometer of road funding is precious and allocations are hot topics for debate across the industry and with government.
Yet clearly Barnaby Joyce doesn’t know what is happening in his own portfolio.
He is full of bluff and bluster, but today demonstrated how distracted and out of his depth he actually is.
At the time of the announcement of the Beef Road funding allocations during the last election, $30m was allocated by the Turnbull/Joyce Liberal/National Government to the Northern Territory. Funding was also to be made available for sealing of stretches of the Outback Way, particularly the Plenty High which is used as a beef road as well as an increasing tourist driver population.
Nineteen Months later is time enough for the Deputy Prime Minister to give an update of what has happened with that funding in the Northern Territory.
Today I asked the questions hoping to find out how much has been spent on the Government’s commitment to upgrades to the Barkly Stock Route and the Tablelands Highway and how many kilometres had been sealed/addressed under the program.
Reducing closures and restrictions, improving accessibility and making every trip safer is what Territorians want from the Beef Roads program.
The Deputy Prime Minister’s failure to answer just shows what a dud he really is.