Premier takes Queensland’s issues to COAG

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The Queensland Government will put up a fight for continued investment in solar power and commitment to mental health services at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting on Friday.

National agreements for mental health and dental care are due to expire in two months and QLD Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk will push for a commitment to renewed federal funding for health-related services.

Regional areas will serve to benefit from the Premier’s demands as they continue to tackle high rates of mental illness including depression and suicide.

“Any agreement on health funding proposed by COAG must include a broad range of health services delivered outside of hospitals,” says Premier Palaszczuk.

“If it doesn’t, services will be cut and waiting lists will grow.”

Such cuts would be a blow to the regional areas that already scrape by with limited health services.

The Federal Government allocated $10.4 million for mental health and $30.3 million for adult public dental services over the last year.

Premier Palaszczuk has also vowed to fight cuts to renewable energy grants over fears for the future of solar projects in regional Queensland.

A merger between the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) will result in a $1.3 billion cut for competitive solar energy grant funding.

Energy Minister Mark Baileys says regional projects are likely to lose out in the face of cuts, causing a loss of jobs for those areas.

“Right across regional Queensland there are shortlisted solar projects ready to go, to help transition to a clean energy economy,” he says.

“If [ARENA] it loses its capability for competitive grant funding then that means renewable energy projects that can deliver jobs in regional Queensland simply won’t happen once this round is complete.”

He says the Queensland Government will be calling out the federal government on its poor commitment to renewable energy at COAG on Friday.