PM’s $850m salvo as battle for Queensland rages
A regional war chest of cash and disaster funding will be announced today, as the Federal Government seeks to shore up its vote in the country.
Queensland has become a political battleground, with leaders from four parties in a pre-Budget week campaign push.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison blitzed through Rockhampton and Cairns yesterday, while stopping in Townsville on Wednesday morning, while Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese hit Mackay.
Greens leader Adam Bandt was in Brisbane to announce new candidates, while Deputy Prime Minister and Regional Development Minister Michael McCormack will be in Rockhampton today to announce $250 million in regional grants.
The money will go into the sixth round of the Building Better Regions Fund, used for grants in regional areas to go towards projects like sports halls, pool upgrades and road fixes.
"It's a significant boost to regional Australia and will further accelerate regional recovery and deliver growth, community renewal, more jobs and new skills for the long term," Mr McCormack said.
Mr Morrison will also announce $600 million will go towards the previously announced National Recovery and Resilience Agency which will start work in July.
The agency was one of the recommendations of the bushfire Royal Commission and was announced by the Government in November.
The $600 million will go towards "resilience projects", such as bushfire and cyclone-proofing houses, building levees and improving reliability of telecommunications.
It will work with existing state government agencies on the recovery phase after disasters have struck.
Meanwhile, shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said the Budget needed to be more ambitious about getting to full employment, saying Treasurer Josh Frydenberg's recent statement that it was not the time for austerity was obvious.
"That's how we'll assess the Budget - whether it does enough not just to forecast more jobs but actually deliver more secure jobs," he said.
"Of course now's not the time to flick the switch to austerity. It's remarkable the Treasurer only came to that conclusion just now."
Originally published as PM's $850m salvo as battle for Queensland rages