Mayor takes budget good with bad
GLADSTONE Mayor Gail Sellers is pleased a number of key issues have been addressed in an otherwise hit and miss Queensland Government 2012-13 State Budget.
Cr Sellers said the State LNP Government's Budget, handed down on Tuesday, contained welcome news for the Gladstone Region on a number of fronts.
."The Gladstone Region would expect to see a substantial share of the $60 million allocated for the first year of the Royalties for the Regions program designed to help Councils which are struggling to provide the critical infrastructure needed to support the resources boom," Cr Sellers said.
"Our Region has made sacrifices to accommodate industries which benefit the entire State and it is only fair that our residents should see money invested back into the Region to help us meet our soft and hard infrastructure needs."
Cr Sellers also welcomed the State Government's purchase of land to support the growth of the LNG industry.
"About $19.5 million will be spent securing land for the Callide to Gladstone LNG Corridor and the Stanwell to Gladstone Infrastructure Corridor, allowing for the transmission of gas for the LNG proponents from the Callide Range, through the Gladstone State Development Area (GSDA), to Curtis Island," Cr Sellers said.
"More than $10 million has been approved over the next three years to purchase land for future industry development in the GSDA area in Targinie, of which $7.3 million will be spent in the 2012-13 Budget period.
"An additional $85.5 million towards the RG Tanna Coal Terminal upgrade is also a significant investment in the Gladstone Region's future."
Cr Sellers said there was also good news for the Region's home buyers, renters and those who are dependent upon social housing programs.
"Our region should also benefit from the $12.8 million to be spent on social housing program, an area which has been of great concern to Council during the rental crisis of the past 18 months."
"Motorists will welcome the news that $415.6 million is to be spent on improvement works for the Bruce Highway, with the stretch between Gin Gin and Rockhampton containing a number of danger spots that require urgent attention," she said.
"I was also pleased to hear that Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney had announced that he will work with Council and the private sector to discuss ways to ease housing pressure in a number of regional centres including Gladstone."
However, Cr Sellers expressed her disappointment that additional funding for Gladstone Hospital was not forthcoming as it was for its Emerald and Rockhampton counterparts despite the needs of the growing Gladstone Region population.
"I am also disappointed that the $7000 first home owners' grant for existing properties has been dropped in favour of the $15,000 grant for first home owners who are building," Cr Sellers said.
"In many cases it is less expensive for young people to buy an existing house or unit rather than build and the absence of assistance for them will not encourage them to enter the housing market."
Also on the Mayor's wish list is a reduction in the amount of paper work necessary for beneficiaries of the Patient Transfer Subsidy which is designed to help residents in Queensland regional areas meet the costs of accessing medical treatment available only in major centres.
"I was pleased to see an increase in funding for people dependant upon the subsidy but the amount of paperwork and red tape is prohibitive and that alone is probably discouraging people who really need this assistance from making use of it," she said.