ANALYSIS: Mackay, Whitsunday state budget winners and losers
TREASURER Cameron Dick has handed down one of the most important Queensland Budgets in our state’s history.
In his speech to parliament, he declared the financial blueprint would be one that “contains no surprises for Queenslanders”.
But what it lacked in dazzle, the no-frills budget made up for in terms of highly-anticipated election commitments promised throughout the state election campaign.
Here are five budget winners and losers for the Mackay Isaac Whitsunday region:
1) Harrup Park Country Club
The highly-anticipated Harrup Park Great Barrier Reef Arena upgrade has been given all $10 million of promised state funding this financial year.
This will pave the way for construction to start in early 2021.
2) Students in Mackay Isaac Whitsunday
Money for a new performing arts and sports hall in Sarina was the big ticket item in a $43.2 million education budget for the Mackay Isaac and Whitsunday region.
The $10.2 million in funding for the new multipurpose hall at Sarina State High School was one of 12 education infrastructure projects specifically green lit in the Tuesday budget.
3) Tourism operators
A $40 million tourism support package has been announced in the Queensland Budget to help troubled businesses along the reef.
With international tourism gone and borders only just reopening, a mix of grants and infrastructure funding has been rolled out in the hope of luring tourists back to the Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday region.
4) Peak Downs Highway users
The highway will get $7.8 million in 2020-21 out of a $35 million total spend to strengthen and widen the pavement between Wuthung Rd and Caval Ridge Mine.
The project will be delivered in partnership with the Federal Government.
5) Mackay motorists
A second lane will be added to the Mackay Ring Road while the first stages of the $150 million Walkerston bypass will be rolled out in the major roads budget.
The Queensland Budget has outlined $583 million in infrastructure and capital works projects in the Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday region.
1) Sarina Hospital users
Sarina residents could be waiting even longer for their much-needed hospital upgrade, based on Queensland Budget figures.
Only $655,000 has been allocated for the $31.5 million Sarina Hospital redevelopment this financial year, while another $19.8 million towards the project is in forward estimates.
Burdekin MP Dale Last said there was also no specific mention in the budget of the promises Labor Candidate for Burdekin, Mike Brunker, made for either the Bowen Hospital or the Moranbah Hospital in the lead up to the state election.
2) Pioneer Valley
This is much less than the $10 million Mackay Regional Council had sought.
3) The State Government
Treasurer Cameron Dick is borrowing big to fund the re-elected Palaszczuk Government’s effort to claw Queensland out of recession.
The Sunshine State’s debt bill will hit almost $130 billion in four years’ time, well in excess of the $92 billion that Dick’s predecessor Jackie Trad was forecasting a year earlier.
4) The coal industry
The State Government’s budget strategy and outlook report revealed the volume of Queensland’s coal exports fell 3.1 per cent in 2019-20.
It stated this was mainly driven by a coronavirus-induced drop in demand in the June quarter 2020, with exports 9.8 per cent lower over the year to the June quarter.
However, coal exports are expected to recover by 9.75 per cent in 2021-22 as the global economy begins to recover and demand for coal rebounds.
5) Proserpine health services
While pleased to see funding for health services in the region included in the budget, Whitsunday MP Amanda Camm was concerned there did not seem to be funding allocated to the Proserpine acute primary care clinic past next year.
“It’s something I’ll be raising with the Health Minister to ensure we get the forward funding to complete that project,” she said.