'Get real': Chamber chief's take on state budget
THE needs of the Fraser Coast region have been overlooked in the State Budget.
That is according to the head of the Hervey Bay Chamber of Commerce, Sandra Holebrook, who said the region had been "ignored".
Ms Holebrook said the budget missed opportunities to address the dire state of the region's jobless rate.
"Considering how high the unemployment rate and youth unemployment rate is we are very light on major projects to help stimulate jobs," she said.
"I know Maryborough has got some wins in the budget but in general terms across the Fraser Coast it is really not very much."
Ms Holebrook was disappointed in the noticeable lack of commitment to the Hinkler Regional Deal, saying it had become an "election toy" which "no one wants to commit to at state level".
"We have local and federal government engaged. Why can't the state come to the table?" she said.
"I'm really saying government need to get real about regional and rural.
"The regional deal is a real indication of how they treat the regional areas. They have not wanted to enter into the Hinkler deal all the way through, yet signed other ones off and yet now the budget remains silent about regional cities."
Ms Holebrook's ideal budget wish-list for the Fraser Coast would have included job-generating projects.
"What can I say? It comes down to jobs, jobs, jobs," she said.
"In the long run it is not enough, the economy here needs a pipeline to go from project to project.
"We need serious investment to not only improve our community by creating long-term jobs, but provide sustainability for a regional area and give other businesses the capacity to grow around the projects.
"Everyone gets caught up in the whole 'Wide Bay' story yet we have a very different demographic here to the rest of the area.
"For example the payroll tax sounds great in theory but we don't benefit because we have very few businesses here who actually would pay it.
"I don't think they have thought of the regions properly. The budget needs to balance and they have more focused on the more highly-populated areas with a token commitment to supporting regional and rural Queensland."
State treasurer Jackie Trad said the budget would contain a $50 billion capital spend over four years with $12.9 billion to be spent in 2019/20 to create 40,500 jobs.
She said about 25,500 of those jobs would be created in the regions outside the greater Brisbane area with 60 per cent of the infrastructure spend allocated to regional projects.