Local Federal MP reveals 2018 Budget wishlist
Federal Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace has revealed his 2018 Federal Budget wishlist for the Sunshine Coast.
“Last year’s Budget was a huge win for the Sunshine Coast. In particular we saw a further $650 million in funding for upgrades to the Bruce Highway between the Coast and Brisbane, adding to the $923 million in work already underway. The Budget also contained a $10 billion National Rail Program, which is available to fund the rail improvements the Coast needs as we continue grow. We also saw $5 million for mental health research and treatment at the Thompson Institute in Birtinya and $266 million extra for local schools among many other great outcomes for local residents.” Mr Wallace said.
“Since that Budget the Coast has seen the positive impacts of its job creating policies. More than 750 people locally have been moved off welfare and into work through the Government’s JobActive subsidies, while the unemployment rate on the Coast is now as low as 5.1%. We have also seen more patients than ever before on the Sunshine Coast seeing a doctor without paying, with a record bulk billing rate of 88.3%.”
“This year, I am fighting for us to go further and do even more to make the southern and central Sunshine Coast the place to be for education, employment and retirement.”
“In the past eighteen months we have secured $2.6 billion in local upgrades to the Bruce Highway, as well as millions more in Federal funding for a business case for high speed rail to Nambour and Maroochydore. This week we have learnt that the Government will invest $390 million more in duplicating the North Coast rail line. So I am realistic about what else we can expect for the Coast in this Budget. However, my number one priority remains completing the upgrades we need on the Bruce Highway as quickly as possible. That includes not only fast tracking the works that are already happening, but also delivering the extra funding we will need to ensure that the road has at least three lanes all the way from the Coast to Brisbane. I am fighting for a commitment of more funds for the Bruce in our region from the Government in this Budget.”
“Beyond transport infrastructure, local charity endED are working toward the construction of a dedicated residential treatment facility for people suffering with an eating disorder which would be the first of its kind in Australia. I am fighting to persuade the Federal Government to fund the construction of this facility so that endED can get started delivering this much needed service throughout our region. I have been knocking on the Minister’s door constantly and hounding his Department on this one, and I will continue to fight for it until we get the funding we need.”
“We also have many thousands of ADF veterans living in our community. Unfortunately many of these veterans, as well as local emergency services personnel, will suffer from PTSD in their life after service. The Government has done a huge amount in this area, including making mental health treatment free for anyone who has served a single day in the ADF and investing millions in piloting new approaches to suicide prevention as well as creating the Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Program. However, I believe we could do more and I have been fighting for funding in this Budget for an innovative PTSD program at the Thompson Institute in order to help to improve the lives and honour the service of our local ADF veterans.”
“Finally, I know that many of our older people are struggling with the cost of living and with supporting themselves in retirement. Many of them are concerned about the further disastrous impact that Federal Labor’s proposed $3.75 billion ‘Retiree tax’ would have on thousands of local self-funded retirees. I am responding to that concern by fighting for more help from the Government in this Budget for older Australians to enjoy the dignified and active retirement they deserve after a lifetime of hard work.”
The Federal Budget will be handed down on Tuesday 8 May.