Funding for the the intersection of the Wide Bay and Bruce Hwys has been announced in the Federal Budget.
Funding for the the intersection of the Wide Bay and Bruce Hwys has been announced in the Federal Budget.

Budget delivers Wide Bay-Bruce intersection upgrade

THE NOTORIOUS intersection of the Bruce Hwy and the Wide Bay Hwy will be improved as part of an $843.8 million investment in what is the only substantial investment in the Gympie region from the 2017-18 Federal Budget.

The funding is part of a package which includes the upgrades for Pine Rivers to Caloundra stretch, the Deception Bay interchange, and the Bruce Hwy safety package.

Of the $843.8 million the Pine Rivers to Caloundra stretch will receive the bulk ($530 million), with the remainder split among the other projects.

According to councillor Glen Hartwig, the funding is a great for safety in the region.

"It is good to see funding for this intersection," he said.

"It is in desperate need of an upgrade."

It was the only major announcement of investment in the region, although there are other measures aimed at improving rural and regional measures included.

One of these is the establishment of Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships, to improve "educational attainment, skills development, and employment opportunities for rural and regional students".

The Federal government will provide $24 million over four years, with at least 1200 available for students "undertaking undergraduate, post-graduate or vocational education and training qualifications in priority fields of study including science, technology, engineering, mathematics and health".

Schools in the region will also benefit from this year's budget, with an extra $18.6 billion invested in Australia's schools under David Gonski's needs-based model.

Small businesses are also getting a break, with last year's $20,000 instant tax write-off being extended until 2018 and opened to businesses with an annual turnover of up to $10 million.

As had previously been reported, university students are facing a 7.5% tuition fee hike implemented over the next four years.

Graduates will also start paying their HELP fees earlier, with the threshold lowered to $42,000 for mandatory repayments.

A number of changes have also been announced for welfare recipients, including the creation of a demerit system for people who miss appointments and interviews without a reasonable excuse.

More details about the Federal Budget can be found here.

Gympie Times


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