CASH BOOST: Fraser Coast Regional Council’s share of Roads to Recovery funding will double in 2015-16 to $3.3 million.
CASH BOOST: Fraser Coast Regional Council’s share of Roads to Recovery funding will double in 2015-16 to $3.3 million. Alistair Brightman

Fraser Coast pollies react to the budget

FRASER Coast councillors, MPs, education and agricultural industry representatives have reacted to the latest Federal Budget with an overall feeling of cautious optimism.

Federal member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said the 2015 Budget would be helpful to local families, farmers and small businesses.

"Our economic plan is working. Australia's economic growth is up; retail sales and new dwelling approvals are at record levels," Mr Pitt said.

"Deficits over the forward estimates are reducing each and every year from $35.1 billion in 2015-16 to $6.9 billion in 2018-19."

Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O'Connell said it looked like the Federal Government was taking a positive view towards enterprise which would benefit the Fraser Coast, especially for small businesses.

He said more attention should have been paid to state and local issues.

"The more funding they can give to local programs for example disaster funds the better. The federal assistance grants need to be un-frozen so that we can continue to roll out infrastructure, and health needs more," Cr O'Connell said.

"In regards to the backpackers getting taxed when working for fruitgrowers, other workers get taxed too."

State member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders said health services and education would suffer because of the Budget.

"When looking at health, we're going to lose $924 million in the next three years in Queensland and we're also going to lose $466 million in education over the next three years," Mr Saunders said. "No doubt the Wide Bay's going to be affected and I'm devastated."

The University of Southern Queensland's vice-chancellor and president Professor Jan Thomas warned that while the budget held up a number of "family friendly sweeteners," any change to existing payments must be carefully considered in light of personal circumstances, household income and every

day expenses, but she welcomed the government's plan to increase financial support to those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged.

"Any change that will assist families to better access education and university studies is a positive outcome and will strengthen the nation's economy," Professor Thomas said.

She said that while university funding had been largely left alone, there were still lingering funding proposals held over since budget time last year, such as university deregulation.

Canegrowers acting CEO Ron Mullins said the proposed tax reductions to small businesses would be a helping hand to many cane growers. He said growers supported the additional $100 million over four years to the Reef Trust program to support Great Barrier Reef project.

On a local scale

Roads to Recovery funding will double in 2015-16 for the Fraser Coast Regional Council to $3.3 million.

The Federal Government has given $16 million towards the $22 million reconstruction of the Tinana interchange.