FEDERAL BUDGET: How Mackay Isaac Whitsundays fared
THE Federal Government is ramping up its push to have more gas-powered homes and businesses across the country by unlocking five key gas basins that could benefits our region.
But Mackay and Whitsunday residents hoping for generous gifts from the 2020 Federal Budget will be disappointed with no specific offerings outlined in the hefty papers delivered to media on Tuesday.
The papers do show a commitment to continued funding of major road works around the area, but while the projects were named there was no new money allocated to the Mackay Bruce Highway Northern Access upgrade, the Mackay Ring Road, the Jumper Creek and Knobels Road Intersection upgrades and the Peak Downs Highway (Mackay and Eton) safety projects.
That said, there should be some good news for the region coming off the back of the government's decision to move forward with expanding gas exploration.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg set aside $28.3m to develop five 'strategic basin plans'.
It is a move that Federal Resources Minister Keith Pitt claims will 'unlock and accelerate the development of vast gas reserves, increase domestic supply and lower prices for households and businesses' across the country.
The Galilee Basin and the Bowen Basin are now slated for accelerated development.
Mr Pitt said this would see 'more gas at a lower price' while 'supporting jobs in Australia's manufacturing sector', with expectations that jobs could flow to areas like Mackay and Whitsunday.
The Northern Territory's Beetaloo Basin is also on the radar.
The government will also spend $13.7m over four years to provide 'quality assured scientific research and information to communities living in gas development regions' through the CSIRO's Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance.
"This complements investments … in an inaugural National Gas Infrastructure Plan, as well as gas regulatory reform initiatives," Mr Pitt said in a media release.
A further $124.5m will fund the expanded Exploring for the Future Program, he said.
Mackay and Whitsunday tourism sectors can expect to benefit from the $51m Regional Tourism Recovery fund, which will help areas like ours pivot from a reliance on international visitors to taking advantage of the domestic tourist market.
The Government will also provide $11.6m over the coming three years for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to continue managing the reef and supporting businesses significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The $30.3m national Regional Connectivity Program will help improve telecommunications connectivity in regional areas.
Other commitments that may benefit our residents and businesses include:
•An extension of the $200m Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) for a fifth round;
•$41m for a Research and Development Program to pay for research and development activities that will benefit regional industries;
•An additional $28.1m to extend the Stronger Communities Program;
•The $5.7m Building Strong, Resilient Regional Leaders initiative; and
•The $5m for the Regional Australia Institute's research program and promotion of regional living.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud also announced more than $300 million in funding to help modernise Australia's agriculture export systems.
"Agricultural exports are critical to Australia's economic recovery. That's why this Budget is delivering the $328 million Busting Congestion for Agricultural Exporters Package," Mr Littleproud said.
"This suite of reforms will modernise Australia's export systems by slashing red-tape and streamlining regulation and service delivery for our farmers."
"We're making it faster and cheaper for farmers to get their product to market, while retaining the levels of quality and assurance that have made our exports world-class."
The package includes $222.2m over four years for digital services to take farmers to market, including a 24/7 touch point for exporters and $10.9m over three years to create a more competitive meat export industry. - WITH GEOFF EGAN