Citizenship saga looms over CQ jobs package
UPDATE, 12.38PM: THE HIGH Court will hand down its decision on the fate of the seven parliamentarians on Friday afternoon.
EARLIER: THE CITIZENSHIP cloud hanging over seven federal parliamentarians including Regional Development Minister Fiona Nash could rain on a major central Queensland jobs project, according to an Opposition frontbencher.
But the Minister is having none of it, telling The Observer Shadow Regional Services spokesman Stephen Jones' professed concerns were "rubbish".
The Bowen Basin Regional Jobs Investment Package was announced at the last federal election and formed a key part of the LNP's pitch to bring jobs to the Gladstone region.
But well over a year after the election, no major projects have been approved under the program.
The local planning committee, which is chaired by former Gladstone Regional Council chief executive Graeme Kanofski, delivered its local investment plan in May.
During a recent visit to Gladstone, Mr Jones said the fact Senator Nash's citizenship case was now before the High Court could put any jobs projects signed off on by the Minister at risk of legal challenge.
The High Court's decision could see the Senator declared ineligible to have been elected.
"(Senator Nash) sits on $1.7b worth of grant money (and) most of it is contestable," Mr Jones said.
"Any one of those people who were unsuccessful in getting a grant might consider raising a legal challenge., saying the person who signed off on that decision was not entitled to be a Minister because she's not entitled to be a Member of Parliament.
"She should remove the uncertainty. It's almost clear that she's stopped making decisions anyway.
"She's kicked the Bowen Basin RJIP dates down the road, we think it's because of this."
A spokesman from the Senator's office was reluctant to comment directly on the High Court decision as the case was currently before the court.
But Senator Nash didn't hesitate to respond directly to Mr Jones, saying he "should write fantasy fiction".
"Stephen Jones' tactic of pretending RJIP packages around the nation have been delayed has obviously arrived in the Bowen Basin," she said.
"The Bowen Basin RJIP is running exactly on schedule - applications closed on August 15 and the relevant Department is currently doing in-depth assessment of applications including the finances of the businesses applying.
"I continue to carry out my Ministerial obligations in full confidence this is absolutely appropriate.
"Jones should spend more time in regional Australia and less time writing rubbish."