Gympie region leaders give their Fed Budget wishlist
TREASURER Scott Morrison plays Santa and Scrooge when he releases the Federal Budget next Tuesday night.
We asked the region's political leaders what they want.
Saving lives on the Bruce Hwy was a priority concern raised by both state Gympie MP Tony Perrett and Federal Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien.
Local road and bridge upgrades also rated highly on their transport agendas.
Mr Perrett lauded the low interest environment for business, but said it was important not to forget the self funded retirees who had been hit hard by the low interest rates welcomed by others, as well as changes to their superannuation.
He prioritised small business as a job generator and said road improvements, including through the Roads to Recovery and Bridge Renewal programs, would aid economic efficiency and boost the job performance of business.
He said specific infrastructure projects to improve the region's socio-economic outlook were also important, including federal support for the Gympie Aquatic Recreation Centre ($5 million) and the Pavilion upgrade (more than $500,000).
Mr O'Brien emphasised education and health service improvements especially in the regions, as well as roads.
"I expect the budget to continue to deliver increasing investments in schools and hospitals and funding for roads, job programs and election commitments,” he said.
"This is the first Budget since the election, so I also expect it will confirm my election commitments, including the $20 million Wide Bay Burnett Jobs Package and the $2 million commitment towards improving the Cooloola Noosa Road link.
"I would also expect to see funding for the first ever National Rural Health Commissioner, to improve access to health programs and deliver better outcomes for people in rural and regional communities,” he said.
"The Government needs to rein in expenditure, but I look forward to support for targeted programs and projects,” Mr Perrett said.
"The only way we can tackle problems such as high unemployment and low socio-economic conditions is through targeted programs with long term benefits, including investment in local infrastructure and strengthening our 4298 local businesses.
"As the largest employer group, small business is best placed to provide employment opportunities and it is important to allow them to borrow, invest and open up more job prospects.”
Mr O'Brien said funding was already allocated to complete the Bruce Highway Cooroy to Curra Section C project, with an expected opening in the first quarter next year.
"The Coalition Government has also committed around $50 million to the Queensland Government for the Section D Gympie bypass detailed design and planning study.
"Given there are already more than 25,000 vehicles on the highway through Gympie every day, increasing by more than 3 per cent annually, I want to see construction of Section D start as soon as Section C is completed.
"Federal funding should continue for highway maintenance and safety upgrades, especially after the horrific fatal accidents we've seen.
"The federal government has committed to record funding levels for health and education. Volunteer, community, and sporting groups do great work and I am always keen to ensure our region secures its fair share of funding.”
Gympie Regional Council did not respond.