December 2, 2020
Tuesday’s State Budget has not delivered on many important projects for the South Burnett, Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington said on Wednesday.
Mrs Frecklington said it was disappointing that long-awaited safety improvements for major connecting roads, along with water infrastructure have been overlooked.
“Unfortunately, the key projects our community has been calling for have not been funded in this delayed State Budget,” Mrs Frecklington said.
“Key roads like the Mundubbera-Durong Road, Kilkivan-Tansey Road and Maidenwell-Bunya Mountains Road have once again been overlooked.
“Water infrastructure like the Barlil Weir has also not been considered.
“Many of the projects listed in the Budget for the South Burnett have been previously announced by Labor, or have even been finished. They are not new projects.
“I am pleased however that my lobbying on behalf of Tanduringie State School has been successful with a small amount of funding listed for planning works for a new bridge on Tanduringie Creek where a near tragedy occurred with the school bus a few months ago.
“I will also be seeking further information about funding announced for the D’Aguilar Highway between Yarraman and Kingaroy. Details have not been provided on the scope of works, and I will seek these details on behalf of the community.
“There is so much opportunity right here, but it needs backing with better roads, better health services, water security and less red and green tape for our primary producers and small business.
“I’ll continue to push for these issues on behalf of our community.”
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The Queensland Farmers’ Federation said it was underwhelmed by the Budget, too, as there were no surprises, either positive or negative.
CEO Dr Georgina Davis said the Budget was a missed opportunity to address some critical competitiveness and productivity issues, and growth opportunities.
“Credit to the government for fully delivering on its election commitments, including reducing irrigation water charges for the State’s farmers, electricity bill relief for small businesses, funding for agricultural skills and training facilities, and support for the Reef Credits initiative,” Dr Davis said.
“The government should also be commended for listening to QFF and providing price relief for critical input costs, funding for resilience and risk reduction, dam safety improvement projects and biosecurity.
“However, more information is needed to address the uncertainties around implementing some of these significant initiatives.
“Some obvious and overdue funding measures were missing in the Budget – such as abolishing stamp duty on agricultural insurance, capital investment for strategic water infrastructure projects and support for agritourism.”
Dr Davis said the government needed to demonstrate a more strategic intent towards agriculture and long-term, targeted stimulus-type investment if the sector was to take the next step forward.
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AgForce Qld noted that Treasurer Cameron Dick acknowledged agriculture during his Budget speech.
CEO Michael Guerin said AgForce was pleased to see the Treasurer recognise the essential role agriculture plays in protecting the economy.
Mr Guerin said the industry also welcomed the State Government’s commitments, including $81.61 million to be allocated over three years from 2021-22 to reduce irrigation scheme water charges for the State’s farmers, and further dam and regional town water security investment.
However, he said that while the government had reaffirmed its commitment to drought reform, it was light on the details about what that reform looked like, while at the same time allocating less funding to the current situation many producers find themselves in.
“Two-thirds of Queensland is still drought declared and La Nina is yet to deliver any rain,” Mr Guerin said.
“Yet the assumption within the Budget seems to be that the rains will come and solve the expenditure problem for the government without them having to provide any further funding.
“AgForce will therefore be doing everything it can to work closely with government to guarantee continuing steps and investment within drought reform, particularly for the 2021-22 Budget, to ensure ongoing assistance applies across affected sectors, is effective, and increases resilience.”
Mr Guerin said AgForce would also be seeking a clearer funding pathway for the previously announced “Inland Bruce Highway” which, if fully funded, would make freight movements safer and much more efficient.