“Regional Queensland is a big winner from last night's Federal Budget," said The Nationals’ Senate Leader, Ron Boswell after examining the 2006/07 federal budget papers.
Senator Boswell cited increased local and national roads funding, better control of illegal foreign fishing, significant tax cuts, University sport and biofuels funds as highlights of the 2006 budget.
"Queensland local Councils will welcome an extra $62.5 million to be delivered for upgrades to local roads before the end of June, with $3.3 million allocated next year for Queensland projects through the R2R Strategic Roads component."
"There is $48 million to speed up work on the Tully Bruce Highway flood mitigation project, to eventually cost $128 million, and $220 million for more road upgrades on the Bruce Highway between Cairns and Townsville," Senator Boswell said.
"I also welcome the announcement of $10 million to widen the Bruce Highway to four lanes through Gympie – a much needed safety upgrade."
"Overall, the Australian government has increased its commitment to Queensland in the first 5 years of Auslink to more than $3 billion."
"Local Government financial Assistance Grants are also up 4.3% for Queensland to a total of $323.7 million in 2006/07."
"The north Queensland fishing industry has suffered enormously over recent years with fishing closures and greater competition from imports so it is good to see that $1.5 million has been set aside for Torres Strait Prawn Fishery management."
"$388.9 million over 4 years nationally, and a further contribution of $2 million for a new fast response boat in the northern Great Barrier Reef has been set aside to better control and police illegal foreign fishing," Senator Boswell said.
"There is to be a $17 million investment in biofuel quality and fuel standards and I will be looking more closely at the benefits to be delivered from this announcement for Queensland over coming days."
Senator Boswell said that the budget also included significant personal, superannuation and business tax cuts, increased funds for regional ABC programming, a $10 million boost for regional University sport, and more funding for health initiatives, including more bonded medical scholarships and a $1.9 billion commitment to mental health services over 5 years.
"All this has been delivered for regional Queenslanders by a strong Coalition government, along with a bright national fiscal and economic outlook including an underlying cash surplus of $10.8 billion for 2006/07," Senator Boswell said.
ENDS – Media Contact – Paul Leven 02 6277 3244