YES, BUT: MP Llew O'Brien welcomed the federal budget, but wants more for the Bruce Hwy.
YES, BUT: MP Llew O'Brien welcomed the federal budget, but wants more for the Bruce Hwy. Renee Albrecht

Nothing for by-pass but 'plenty for Gympie in budget' - MP responds on roads, facilities and welfare

THE $15 million promised for Gympie region roads in the federal budget does not include any allocation for the Bruce Hwy by-pass.

But Gympie's Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien has vowed he will not let go of the issue.

The region's LNP representative welcomed much of the budget, especially a $20 million jobs package for the Wide Bay Burnett region, "to encourage business to create new jobs," the Tin Can Bay Men's Shed, financial assistance grants to help fund council services and the Pavilion refurbishment project.

Roads promises totalling about $15m include the hoped-for allocation of $2 million for the promised planning phase of Cooloola-Noosa link road upgrade.

That is on top of a major allocation of $11.2 million for upgrading the Bruce Hwy and Wide Bay Hwy intersection.

Mr O'Brien said the intersection upgrade would be welcomed from here to the South Brunett, as would completion of the Tinana Interchange project, expected to be open to traffic in August.

He said councils would receive funding to upgrade local roads through the Roads to Recovery program, including $1.88 million for roads in the Gympie Regional Council area.

Drivers on the other side of Gympie region's near-northern south-eastern boundaries will also benefit from their share of Fraser Coast council's $3.3 million and Noosa's $1.1 million in Roads to Recovery funding.


Budget delivers Wide Bay-Bruce intersection upgrade

'This is huge': Six-lane Bruce Hwy from Coast to Brisbane

Budget 2017: What's in it for Queensland?

Budget 2017: Your five-minute guide

Mr O'Brien hinted at some disappointment with the lack of any spending promise for the Section D Cooroy to Curra project, a matter which he said he would raise with federal Transport Minister Darren Chester, as well as making his point in the federal parliament.

"I will again press the importance of this project," he said, "together with the need for upgrades of the highway between Gympie and Maryborough, when I speak in the Parliament on Thursday.

"The Government simply cannot ignore the need for the Section D projevct when we already have 25,000 vehicles on the Bruce through Gympie every day, increasing by 3% a year and 3.5% a year for heavy vehicles."

Cooroy to Curra Section B - south along new alignment and the realigned Coles Creek Road and overpass. Supplied: Department of Main Roads
Cooroy to Curra Section B - south along new alignment and the realigned Coles Creek Road and overpass. Supplied: Department of Main Roads Contributed

Mr O'Brien welcomed the resumption of indexation of federal Financial Assistance Grants to help councils deliver better services, and an extension of the Building Better Regions Fund and Stronger Community Programs.

"I will advocate strongly to ensure organisations in Wide Bay secure a fair share of these funds," he said.

He said the federal government was strengthening Medicare and fully funding the National Disability Insurance Scheme, "to provide a secure future for Australians with a disability."

He said the needs-based school funding model advocated by the Coalition would be fairer, as well as being simple and transparent, "delivering an extra $22 million to schools in Wide Bay overt the next four years.

"A new Child Care Package will also deliver affordable, accessible child care for families.

"Small businesses in Wide Bay will be supported through recently legislated tax cuts and thsoe with a turnover of $10 million will be able to write off expenditure of up to $20,000 for a further year.

"The Coalition has abolished 457 visas and established a new Skilling Australians Fund to give permanent funding for skills training.


NAPLAN testing for year nine students at Gympie State High School. Luis Jacobson. Photo Tanya Easterby / The Gympie Times
Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien says the needs-based school funding model would be fairer. Tanya Easterby

"When matched with State and Territory funding, it will support up to 300,000 apprentices, trainees, pre-apprentices and higher level skilled Australians.

"People with a mental illness including severe depression, eating disorders, schizophrenia and post-natal depression resulting in a psycho social disability will be assisted through an $80 million commitment.

"The Coalition Government is also restoring the pensioner concession card to people who were affected by changes to the Age Pension asset test, to help them regain access to state concessions.

"A simple, more accessible Australian Financial Complaints Authority will act as a one stop shop to obtain binding outcomes will assist people to resolve their disputes with banks.

"A modest drug testing trial for 5,000 new welfare recipients will be undertaken to help ensure their responsibilities are met.

"The Coalition Government is also toughening Multinational Tax Avoidance Law to ensure they pay their fair share of tax.

"The Coalition Government is making the right choices to ensure fairness, security and opportunity for all Australians," he said.