The scene of a triple fatality on the Bruce Hwy near Gympie.
The scene of a triple fatality on the Bruce Hwy near Gympie. Craig Warhurst

Budget on road to ruin

GYMPIE civic and business leaders branded the Federal Budget a big disappointment yesterday, and joined motoring body RACQ in saying Gympie drivers had a right to be angry the Bruce Hwy upgrade had missed out on extra funding.

The "re-announced" $388 million to finish Section B of the Cooroy to Curra bypass didn't fool anyone.

RACQ spokesman Paul Turner condemned the dearth of funding.

"The Bruce Hwy accounts for one-in-six deaths on our national highways and to see that really it's just being treated with spot funding and black spots and a few dollars here and there is a very disappointing result," he said.

The region's business community fared no better.

Despite signs of a potential turnaround in retail, much of Gympie's business sector continues to drift in the doldrums, and shop keepers surveyed yesterday were unimpressed.

Gympie Chamber of Commerce president Ben Ellingsen said families were the real winners.

"Business has lost out yet again," he said.

"The Budget included details of the Government's 'tax reform roadmap' but there is no commitment to any long-term tax reform agenda such as removal of inefficient taxes.

"The tax loss carry-back announcement looks good at first glance but when you think about its application, it is limited.

"Firstly, only about 20% of businesses in Australia operate through a corporate structure, and secondly, initially you can only claim the tax loss-carry back if you made a profit in 2011/12 and a loss in 2012/13.

"Chances are, if you made a loss in 2012/13, you also made a loss in 2011/12.

"What business needed was the announcement of initiatives to help in the growth of their business.

"From a 'cup half-full' perspective, hopefully we will see some of the additional funds being made available to families in the Budget flow to our businesses to get things kick-started."

Member for Gympie David Gibson said he was very disappointed the Bruce Hwy missed out.

"We cannot allow the Bruce Hwy bypass to continue to be neglected, work needs to commence on sections A & C sooner rather than later," he said.

"The failure of the Federal Budget to address this highway crisis is unsatisfactory and I will be raising the matter directly with my State colleagues and the Federal Minister responsible.

"I'm also concerned that this budget increases the heavy vehicle user charge by $700 million over four years.

"For people in regional centres like Gympie this along with the carbon tax will result in an increased pressure on the family budget as prices go up at the checkout to cover the increased transport costs."

Gympie Times

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