NOT A CENT: The Valley Rattler Steam Train has been overlooked in this week’s state budget.
NOT A CENT: The Valley Rattler Steam Train has been overlooked in this week’s state budget. Eric Taylor

Budget snubs our Rattler, TAFE and hospital

GYMPIE MP Tony Perrett yesterday dismissed the state budget announcements for the Gympie region as contemptuous.

"Less than $800,000 and re-badging, re-announcements and re-cycling amounted to Gympie's share of the Queensland's State Labor Budget," Mr Perrett said.

He said Gympie's share of the multi-billion dollar budget was a rewrite of previous commitments which showed that the Government was treating the region with contempt.

"The Government is all about paying lip service to investing in the regions and addressing serious issues of stalled growth and unemployment," he said.

"It is such a disappointing document with the Government either making announcements about works that have been ongoing for a number of years or making a re-announcement of a re-announcement.

"Despite repeated representations and speeches in the Parliament about Gympie's needs the only new projects are the funding for the Gympie Special School and the Rainbow Beach Fire and Rescue station.

"I welcome the commitments of $490,000 for the Gympie Special School for the renewal of the administration block and additional classrooms, and $300,000 for the Rainbow Beach Auxiliary Fire and Rescue Station.

"However that is still $1 million short of the $1.3 million estimated by the department to replace the station.

 

"All we have got in the reams of paper put out by the Government are re-badging, re-announcements and re-cycling.

 

"The $1.4 million announced for the Rainbow Beach Ambulance Station is a re-announcement from last year's budget and delivers the LNP commitment made in 2014.

"The LNP had committed $1.5 million for construction of the ambulance station with another $400,000 for specialist ambulance vehicles.

"My representations and advocacy to the Department in November last year has meant the continuation of remediation works for abandoned mine land management with $500,000 to manage issues at Rainbow Beach, and $282,000 in Gympie through the Mine Shaft Repair Program.

"However none of this is new as the remediation works have been an ongoing project.

"And the funding obligations committed for the Cooroy to Curra upgrade of the Bruce Hwy sections C and D are a continuation of the commitment made by the LNP with the major portion of funding coming from the Federal government."

The list of missed local funding needs was long, Mr Perrett said.

"There is no mention of funding for the upgrade of the Gympie Hospital, nothing identifiable to upgrade local bridges which will flood proof the region, nothing about supporting our local TAFE and its courses which have been impacted by funding cuts last year, no identifiable capital expenditure to upgrade local arterial roads and to upgrade and maintain local schools, and nothing identified to support local government through targeted funding programs such as the control of feral animals and declared weeds.

"The Government continues to refuse to provide a specific commitment for the iconic Mary Valley Heritage Railway as requested by the Gympie Regional Council.

"This is despite the previous LNP government budgeting $2.6 million for the iconic railway.

"The Gympie Regional Council will have to apply through the contestable Building the Regions Fund meaning that this project will have to compete for funds against every other region in Queensland.

"With an unemployment rate of 9.4 % in the December Quarter, Gympie needs greater investment in local infrastructure projects, maintenance and improvement of existing facilities and providing support and incentives for local business that want to grow in the area.

"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 facilities for health and education.

"This will only be achieved by targeting direct expenditure on a number of projects throughout the region."

"Labor has had 18 months but unfortunately the Government has ignored our region and failed to deliver."

 

"I am extremely disappointed that Gympie and the region has not received its fair share."