JOINT STATEMENT FROM SEATH HOLSWICH MP & TREVOR RUTHENBERG MP IN RESPONSE TO TODAY’S BUDGET
“This budget delivers a strong plan for a brighter future for Pine Rivers and Kallangur.
Revitalised Frontline Services
Our region will benefit from the 7% increase in education spending, 6% increase in health funding, and $406 million commitment for child and family services in response to the Carmody enquiry.
We will also benefit from the $44.5 million commitment to address drug and alcohol-fuelled violence, will receive our share of 267 new police officers and will benefit from the investment in a second police helicopter.
This is a budget that shows our government is committed to revitalising frontline services.
Local Projects (in addition to previously announced funding)
Following the unprecedented Strong Choices public consultation campaign, the State Government is proposing a program of asset transactions – sales, leases and private sector participation – to pay down State debt and fund vital infrastructure.
At their current value, the asset transactions could potentially deliver $33.6 billion.
Three-quarters of this - $25 billion – would be used to immediately pay down the State debt from $80 billion to the $55 billion recommended by the Independent Queensland Commission of Audit. This would reduce the annual interest bill from $4 billion to $2.3 billion.
The remaining $8.6 billion will fund the Strong Choices Investment Program, a suite of new infrastructure funds to support and stimulate the State’s economy.
Queenslanders will be invited to nominate projects in their communities that may qualify for funding from this program. We will ensure local residents and business owners have the opportunity to have their voices heard in terms of local projects that require funding.
The Federal Government has unilaterally and without warning cancelled $50 million in funding for a range of concessions, which Queensland pensioners receive. The Queensland Government is actually increasing its funding for the affected concessions, but this will not be enough to offset the impact of the Federal Government’s decision.
Queensland Government funding for the affected concessions will not be reduced and in fact will grow in 2014-15 by 9.9% compared to the estimated actual funding provided in 2013-14.
The federal government cuts amount to around a 15% decrease in concessions for pensioners and Seniors Card holders.
For this impact to be avoided, it would be necessary for the Federal Government to reinstate its funding. It is disappointing that the Federal Government chose to withdraw funding for these concessions, and we sincerely hope they reconsider this stance.
This is a strong budget for Queensland and our region and sets us on a path to be able to afford the infrastructure our region needs for a bright future.”