The State Government is scraping the bottom of the barrel to find projects to fund in Gympie.
I welcome the commitment of $500,000 to improve water supply at Mary Valley State College.
The only other three projects are a recycled commitment for the Rainbow Beach auxiliary Fire and Rescue station, ongoing commitment to the Bruce Highway upgrade, and the Cooloola Coast esplanade revitalisation.
They’ve hitched themselves to projects primarily funded and delivered by the Federal Government and the Gympie Regional Council.
This is the third time the Rainbow Beach auxiliary Fire and Rescue station has been announced in their glossy brochure about Budget highlights for the Gympie region.
It’s a perennial commitment which disappears some years to then be resurrected in others.
It was first promised in a glossy brochure five years ago in 2016.
It disappeared the following year with the funding redirected to Bundaberg to prop up a disgraced State Labor member.
It made another appearance in 2019, only to be taken away in last year’s Budget which was delayed until just after the State election.
I welcome its return (six Budgets later) and hope for the sake of the Rainbow Beach community that it is third time lucky.
The $549,400 to start construction of the Cooloola Coast esplanade revitalisation will be delivered by the Gympie Regional Council.
The state is making a part contribution to a council project.
The funding for the Bruce Highway Cooroy to Curra Section D construction is part of an ongoing commitment to deliver the project.
The Federal Government funds the bulk of this project or 80% of a total $1 billion spend.
The Government has ignored local industries such as agriculture, fishing and forestry.
Despite eye watering borrowings and record debt the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAF) operating budget is cut by more than 10% from $586,733 to $522,630.
DAF staff numbers are cut while there are more than 30,000 extra bureaucrats on the Government’s payroll.
There’s no relief for rising power and water costs, no detail on assistance for quarantine costs of foreign workers who are desperately needed on farms, not even a mention of pest and weed management.
The Agriculture Minister is spending funds to “finalise long term decisions” about agricultural education assets after he’s already shamefully closed Queensland Agriculture Colleges and has been selling off agricultural education assets.
There have been no identified initiatives or funding for Gympie health, schools, police, road and bridge upgrades.
I have raised in the Parliament and written to Ministers and the Premier on so many occasions, even last month, outlining some of Gympie needs.
The Government has missed so many opportunities on projects such as:
• Start investigation and works on raising Borumba Dam to provide water security; • New police station on the Cooloola Coast and upgrade the Imbil police station • Release of the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service’s review of local health needs (due February 2020), Phase 1 of the Master Clinical Plan (due March, 2020); Master Clinical Plan (due end of 2020).
• Upgrade existing Gympie hospital or start planning for a new hospital.
• Ambulance station at Glenwood;
• Upgrade road and bridge infrastructure including overtaking lanes on the Tin Can Bay and Rainbow Beach Roads; upgrade bridges on Glastonbury Road including the Eel Creek Bridge; upgrade the Mary Valley Highway or Gympie-Brooloo Road; improved street lighting at the intersection of Rainbow Beach Road and Queen Elizabeth Drive, Cooloola Cove;
• committing to and planning to build a new Gympie Fire and Rescue Station which has outgrown its current site;
• Improved train service from Gympie North to the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane; • Start planning for new high schools to cater for increased regional growth; • Better support local volunteer, community, and sporting groups;
• More public housing in Gympie;
• Multipurpose facility.
Despite eye watering borrowings and debt, the Budget has delivered no vision for Gympie’s future.