$20m new entertainment facility in region's budget wishlist
THE State Government is on notice to deliver real and genuine investment to the Gympie region in next week's State Budget.
Member for Gympie Tony Perrett said that investment should be on local infrastructure projects, maintenance and improvement of existing facilities, and providing support and incentives for business growth and jobs.
"It's time for the Government to live within its means, stop its addiction to taxes and blaming the Federal Government for its own failures, and make sure that spending is prudent, sensible and made with common sense,” Mr Perrett said.
"In the last three and a half years all we have seen are re-announcements of the previous government's commitments, rebadging Federal Government funds as their contribution, and redirecting funds that were already previously destined to the region.
"We deserve real investment, no more window dressing and spin, or fobbing us off with schemes which are more about pay back for union supporters and green activists.
"Taxpayers work very hard for their money and their money should not be wasted on commitments and projects which only really deliver in the unrealistic promises in a press release.
"Excessive spending just trickles down to households and businesses which are struggling to keep up.
"Families, workers and businesses are battling increasing costs from government charges, fuel, electricity, registration, and more and more burdensome red tape.
"Gympie residents take home the second lowest pay cheque in the state and cringe when they see wage growth in the state's private sector at 1.9% is being outstripped by the unsustainable wage increases for public servants at 2.7%.
"They do not need any new taxes or hikes in government charges.
"Investment in local infrastructure, our low cost family friendly tourism sector, and strengthening our 4380 local businesses will go a long way towards increasing business confidence as well as providing the right conditions to address unemployment and boost our regional economy.
"It is time to take the shackles of burdensome red tape and regulations off our largest employer group small business to allow them to borrow, invest, reinvest and open up more job opportunities.
"Our local unemployment rate of 8.4% is 2.3% above the state average, in the broader Wide Bay region it is the worst in Australia at 9.5%, and the youth unemployment rate of 29% is only second to that in the outback.
"Short term measures and subsidies are not cutting it as they seem to be more about manipulating figures rather than finding long term full time jobs for the unemployed.
"Tackling Gympie's systemic problems such as high unemployment and low socio-economic conditions is by supporting business and targeted program and infrastructure projects which provide long term benefits.
"We have improved transport corridors and a wide range of businesses and industries which can build on the confidence and opportunities this region provides for an affordable lifestyle and an attractive place to work, open or start a business, raise a family and retire.
I have written to several ministers about our needs and among some of the local priorities should be:
Meet the State's funding obligations to continue the Bruce Highway upgrade north of Gympie;
A lease to University of the Sunshine Coast of the empty and unused TAFE building and funding to restore the building to a suitable condition;
$20 million towards a multipurpose entertainment facility in Gympie
Progress the Gympie Hospital Masterplan;
Raise the Coondoo Creek Bridge to help flood proof the region;
Overtaking lanes on the Tin Can Bay and Rainbow Beach Roads;
Upgrade bridges on Glastonbury Road including the Eel Creek Bridge;
Upgrade the Mary Valley Highway to improve safety;
Funds for the Coastal Link Road;
Urgently upgrade the Glenwood State School carpark;
Remove restrictive red tape and regulations from small business;
Funding commitment for Sailability to build a dedicated multi-use pontoon;
Support for groups propping up gaps in local health care services including $500,000 to progress a hydrotherapy pool; $50,000 for Cooloola Coast Medical Transport service to continue operations; $395,000 for Little Haven Palliative Care Inc;
$500,000 to upgrade the Gympie showgrounds lights;
Fund Gympie's new Fire and Rescue Station and Rainbow Beach's Auxiliary station.
Fund research and development measures into the control and prevention of dieback in pasture, and Class 2 invasive weeds such as Giant Rat's Tail Grass;
More support for local government through targeted programs such as the control of feral animals such as wild dogs and feral pigs, and declared weeds;
Support our local TAFE and its courses which have been impacted by funding cuts in 2015;
Support local road upgrades by the Gympie Regional Council through the Traffic Improvement Development Scheme (TIDS);
Continue the previous government's rigorous and successful school maintenance program regime which has seen backlogs significantly reduced.
"The key challenges for this region are addressing the high levels of unemployment, making safer our road network, raising the education levels of locals so that they have better chances for securing meaningful work, differentiating ourselves from other regions in attracting tourists and providing quality health and educational facilities.
"While I am extremely aware that the Government needs to rein in expenditure and not embark on reckless spending I look forward to support of specifically targetted local programmes and projects,” he said.