CQ secures budget backing
CENTRAL Queensland's state politicians are praising the 2018-19 State Budget saying it delivers on their election commitments and pumps hundreds of millions of dollars into our regional economy.
Rockhampton's MP Barry O'Rourke and Keppel's MP Brittany Lauga believe the state's targeted funding allocations will see our region well poised for future growth and prosperity.
Looking at the budget highlights for CQ, plenty of money is set aside for major projects, roads infrastructure, government programs and education.
While the Queensland Government continues to engage with the Australian Government to formalise the details of the arrangement and to agree on an appropriate split of operational costs for the Rookwood Weir, $66 million was allocated in this year's budget to support the $352m project, with construction expected to commence in 2019.
The budget has allocated $107m - out of a total of $243m - for the expansion of the Capricorn Correctional Centre, to provide an additional 348 cells. There is also $1 million towards the $14.3m ($9.5m capital and $4.8m operating expenses) total spend for a new 42-bed residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation and treatment facility, part of the Palaszczuk Government's Action on Ice initiative.
The new $31.5m Rockhampton Art Gallery project will receive $8m.
Gracemere's fire and rescue auxiliary station will be replaced at a cost of $2.1m, with $100,000 allocated in 2018-19. There is also $800,000 in 2018-19 as part of the $4.6m upgrade of Rockhampton fire and rescue station.
The $25m package of tourism infrastructure improvements on Great Keppel Island will receive $6.7 million this year.
The $82.7m to upgrade the capacity of the North Coast Line between Central Queensland and Townsville will receive $21.9m.
A $17.2 million mixed-use residential/commercial development in Rockhampton's CBD on William St will receive $5m.
The $25.5m four-storey car park at Rockhampton Hospital, providing 597 parking bays, receives $15.7m.
The election commitment for the reinstatement of the Yeppoon branch rail line, due for completion in June 2019, has $4.1m allocated.
Upgrade and repair work at the Rockhampton Courthouse worth $12m as been allocated $6.5 million in 2018-19.
The $121m plan to duplicate the Bruce Highway to four lanes between Yeppoon Road and Parkhurst will receive $40m.
The $14.5m project to widen the Bajool to Port Alma road receives $8.8m.
The $75m plan to duplicate the Capricorn Highway between Rockhampton and Gracemere will be allocated $10.9m.
$19m worth of overtaking lanes and other safety measures on the Capricorn Highway between Gracemere and Emerald will receive $10m.
The $30m project to to complete improvements to intersections and road train access on the Rockhampton-Yeppoon Road, due for completion by the end of 2019, will get $9m in funding.
There is $91,000 for regional councils to provide pre-school literacy sessions, known as First 5 Forever - at libraries in Central Queensland, honouring an election commitment.
$11.9 million was allocated to support job-creating maintenance and minor infrastructure works across local councils in CQ as part of the Works for Queensland program.
A $2.5m job to refurbish classrooms at North Rockhampton State High School receives $1m in 2018-19.
Out of $3.8 million to build additional classrooms at Yeppoon State High School and refurbish existing buildings to create five learning areas, $1.1m was allocated.
Since the 2015 election, the Palaszczuk Government has improved frontline health and education services in Central Queensland by employing an additional 77 doctors, 144 nurses, 137 teachers and 58 teacher aides.
Mr O'Rourke said he was delighted to see the Palaszczuk Government's budget investing heavily in Rockhampton's future. "It is so good that after so much public debate and conjecture the cash will start to flow to build Rookwood Weir, with all the benefits this priority infrastructure project will bring,” Mr O'Rourke said.
"It is a budget that will boost the local economy, create jobs and inspire confidence in the region, building on the great work that has been done since 2015 to support our health and education services.”
Mrs Lauga said she was so proud to be part of a government that is supporting our key industries and providing the infrastructure that would serve our growing communities long into the future.
"We are delivering on our election commitments to revive tourism on Great Keppel Island, to tackle the scourge of Ice, and to build road and rail capacity,” Mrs Lauga said.
"I know the investment in Yeppoon State High School will be warmly welcomed by the school community.”