GYMPIE REACTS: Federal budget ‘ray of hope’
A LACK of new Gympie-specific items in Tuesday night’s Federal budget does not mean the region came away empty-handed, Gympie’s community leaders said on Wednesday.
Wide Bay Federal MP Llew O’Brien said this year’s budget was always going to be “macro”, with an eye on the bigger Australian picture following the economic chaos unleashed by COVID-19.
He said Gympie residents would still benefit from the backdated tax cuts and Federal schemes like Building Better Regions.
“I think it’s certainly a good budget for the region,” Mr O’Brien said.
“I will be meeting with the (Wide Bay) mayors when I get back to see how it can be taken advantage of.”
One of those mayors, Gympie’s Glen Hartwig, said the council was already working to identify what funding streams could be targeted for “our desires and wishes”.
“The funding specifically related to roads is … very much of interest to us,” Mr Hartwig said.
“We’re in a growth phase; we either get ahead of the wave and get infrastructure improvements done before they’re needed or we end up spending a lot more to do them once they’re well and truly overdue.
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“Any funding that relates to key, vital infrastructure, this council will be doing everything it can to put an application in and be successful”
The council received $1.3 million as part of the Roads to Recovery program for 2020-21.
Another $5.5 million was delivered in the Federal Government’s Financial Assistance Grants program to be spent on council priorities.
The interesection of Cedar Pocket Road and Gap Pocket Road was given $755,000 for an upgrade.
Gympie Chamber of Commerce president Tony Goodman said the budget offered a “ray of hope”.
“Sure there’s going to be people that miss out on certain things but we’re living in uncertain times,” he said.
Concerns tax cuts would be squirrelled away or spent on mortgages was “reasonable”, he said, but the right messaging would give people the confidence to spend.
“I feel there’s a ray of hope … certainly for Gympie.”