Warren Truss.
Warren Truss. Renee Albrecht

Warren Truss: Wide Bay is getting a Fair Go


Your editorial (GT 06-05-16) seeks to belittle the efforts of the Liberal National Party to address disadvantage in the local region during my period as Member for Wide Bay.

While local unemployment has almost always been higher than other areas, when the Howard Government left office the unemployment rate in Wide Bay was well below the national average. When Labor came to office, they cancelled the Coalition jobs programs and unemployment rose substantially.

The Liberal/National Coalition government has begun the task of rebuilding the national economy creating more than 416,000 jobs in its first term – including many in Wide Bay. The local unemployment rate is now moving downwards.

Our $5.5 billion package to support small business and $6 billion program to help unemployed into work – especially young people – are delivering results.

In addition we have implemented the nation’s biggest ever infrastructure program including $2 billion for the Bruce Hwy in Wide Bay, doubled funding for local roads under Roads to Recovery and the Black Spots Program and the new local Bridges Program.

Gympie has been successful in the two opening rounds of the new National Stronger Regions Program, including $5 million towards the new Aquatic Centre and funding to upgrade the Pavilion. Maryborough is receiving funding for Stage 2 of the Duncan Chapman Memorial and the expansion of the Brolga Theatre.

Last week’s budget added another $908 million for education in Queensland bringing to 27.5% the Coalition’s increase in education grants to the State. Unfortunately State Governments have not matched these increases.

Queensland is receiving an extra 28% for hospitals from the Commonwealth, but the State is using the money to boost its health bureaucracy in Brisbane and their salaries, instead of providing extra essential services to Gympie and other regional communities.

Is it any wonder local people would prefer Commonwealth funding to be paid direct to local hospitals.

There are more aged care places, a $1 million tree planting program, five green army teams, $1 million for new school classrooms, millions for flood remediation work etc.

We have brought the NBN to Gympie – years ahead of Labor’s timetable.

There is much more to be done and the Coalition government is committed to doing what it can to ensure that the Wide Bay area shares fairly in our nation’s growth and prosperity.

Warren Truss,

Retiring Federal Member for Wide Bay.