September 11, 2012
Today’s State Budget has confirmed that Kingaroy’s new multi-million dollar ambulance station will go ahead despite the State Government’s tight strings on the money purse.
$1.5 million towards the project was announced in today’s State Budget.
A new ambulance station has been mooted for some time and Local Ambulance Committee delegates inspected plans during an area meeting held in Kingaroy in February (SBBiz, February 16, 2012), but this is the first time Budget funds have been allocated to the project.
Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington told southburnett.com.au the government had agreed to build the facility this financial year.
More good news for the South Burnett was the allocation of $1 million towards a Safe Haven facility at Cherbourg for children, young people and their families experiencing domestic violence.
The government also approved $11 million funding for Queensland’s 14 regional natural resource management bodies, including $750,000 for the Burnett Mary Regional Group.
Of interest to South Burnett farmers would be the allocation of $4.8 million into research into pulses and grains. Mrs Frecklington said this was part of the government’s plan to make Queensland “the food bowl of Asia”.
The Budget also contains a boost for State Schools … P&Cs will be able to apply for up to $160,000 per school to fix existing priority maintenance issues under a two-year “Advancing Our Schools Maintenance Fund”.
In 2012-13, $100 million would be made available, with a further $100 million in 2013-14.
P&Cs would be asked to obtain three quotes to submit with their application and would also be asked to contribute to the maintenance task if they have funds to do so.
Funding of $4.9 million has also been set aside to provide full-time teacher aides in 150 Prep classes each year in “areas of greatest need”.
Deputy Premier and Member for Callide Jeff Seeney said regional Queensland would be a major beneficiary of the Budget.
He said the Budget also included:
AgForce vice-president Ian Burnett told the ABC this evening that there were “no real surprises” for the agriculture sector however he was supportive of the funding for R&D in the grains and pulse industry.
Australian Medical Association Queensland president Dr Alex Markwell and the Rural Doctors Association of Queensland were less supportive, fearing regional Queensland would suffer from job losses in the health sector.
Almost one-third of the 14,000 job losses come from the Health Department. Budget documents detail job cuts department by department, including:
A rise in mining royalties from 10 per cent to 12.5 per cent for coal valued at more than $100 per tonne has been described as a “recipe for disaster” by mining magnate Clive Palmer. The rise will be locked in for 10 years to give the industry certainty.
Mr Palmer told the ABC the rise would “kill the State’s economy” and put thousands of Queenslanders out of a job.
Treasurer Tim Nicholls described the Budget as “the most important Budget in a generation” and made no apologies for having to make tough decisions.
“Without corrective action, gross debt is expected to be $92 billion in 2015-16 and $100 billion by 2018-19,” he said.
Mr Nicholls said interest has been the fastest growing expense of the Queensland Government over the past decade and the State had been “living beyond its means” since 2005-06.
“Expenses grew at an average of 10.5 per cent while revenue grew at an average rate of 6.9 per cent,” he said.
“And from 2005-06 to 2007-08 alone employee expenses jumped 40 per cent and over the last decade the average increase in employee expenses was 8.7 per cent.
“Public service numbers increased on an FTE (full-time equivalent) basis by 40 per cent from 146,323 in June 2000 to 206,802 in June 2011.
“In 2005-06 just 34 per cent of capital expenditure was funded through borrowing, and by 2010-11 96 per cent of all capital investment was funded from borrowings.”
[UPDATED: September 12, 2012]
CLARIFICATION September 13: The total cost of the Kingaroy ambulance station project will be $3.6 million; $1.5 million has been allocated by the State Government this financial year.