Burnett: ‘Local councils ignored’ in budget
Despite Gladstone Regional Council not receiving any funding for items on its wish list, Mayor Matt Burnett said the Federal Government budget was “not all bad”.
Cr Burnett was pleased the Federal Government continued the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure program, Building Better Regions fund, Roads to Recovery program and Black Spot program.
He said the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure program would still allow “significant” infrastructure for regional councils.
“We will be able to use (the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure program) to build a local road or community facility,” Cr Burnett said.
Cr Burnett said he was most disappointed that funding for Financial Assistance Grant to Local Government was not increased.
“That was the biggest miss in Canberra,” he said.
“Those grants are what allows council to provide services and infrastructure.
“Council can spend money on what the community wants, not what people in Canberra or Brisbane decide what is more important.
“It is ridiculous the number one request from local councils was ignored.”
Cr Burnett also expressed his disappointment there was no support for the inland rail to Gladstone project.
“We put together a commissioned AEC economic analysis, that analysis overwhelming proved that coming to Gladstone makes more sense,” he said.
“It’s cheaper, it opens up the Central Queensland port and it’s a project that’s welcome.
“Moving it to Brisbane, it adds 50 per cent onto the cost, and it doesn’t even get to the Port of Brisbane.”
Cr Burnett also said it was curious a foreign-owned smelter in Victoria received funding whereas the Boyne Smelter received none.
Despite Boyne Island and Tannum Sands missing out on funding for an aquatic centre, Cr Burnett said it was still fantastic to see pool funding go to Livingstone Shire.
“The facility at Yeppoon is fantastic and I’m glad to see funding allocated to our neighbours,” he said.
“We would love to see funding for an aquatic centre in the Boyne Tannum region.”