The LNP's Kennedy candidate Bryce Macdonald says sitting MP Bob Katter's threat to back Labor in a hung federal parliament, over funding for Hells Gate Dam, will jeopardise future northern development.
Mr Macdonald cast doubt on Mr Katter's claims that he had phoned Prime Minister Scott Morrison 13 times following the government announcement last week that it would invest $5.4b in the construction of the dam on the Burdekin River west of Townsville, and hadn't received a call back.
"I spoke to Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce (on Thursday) morning and he said he had spent much of the day with the Prime Minister and knew nothing about missed calls from Bob, so it is possible that some poor person out there has 13 voicemails from someone raving about a dam," he said.
Mr Katter slammed the announcement, saying it would mean the dam wall would be much lower than he had been promised, which he said destroyed his vision of a revised Bradfield Scheme.
Mr Macdonald said that Hells Gate was the sort of transformational infrastructure North Queensland needs, but because it's not exactly what Mr Katter wanted, he was threatening to back Labor in a hung parliament.
"He of all people should know the north will get nothing under a Labor-Greens government so it's concerning that he's threatening to back them over the coalition," he said. "It's unfortunate that he's so negative about one of the most significant nation-building announcements for North Queensland in recent memory."
Mr Macdonald said the Kennedy MP's outburst played into southern stereotypes that the north was full of rednecks and cowboys.
"Bob's response to the dam announcement is a terrible look for North Queensland and makes us a laughing stock in the south," he said.
"He also tried to tell the Prime Minister that truck companies should be allowed to alter engine components to deal with a shortage of AdBlue but he hadn't even consulted with industry about this, because he would have been told it would cost thousands of dollars and void engine warranties.
"Then he's gone around telling gun owners they'd be thrown in jail for ordering gun parts through the mail but it was complete bulldust that frightened everyone for no reason.
"We have a federal government with a proven record of looking after regional Australia, and I am disappointed this approach is treated so badly by our elected representative."
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