OUT IN THE COLD: Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey.
OUT IN THE COLD: Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey. mike knott

'Disappointed': State MP backs feds over Bundy mayor

THE region's state MPs say they're pleased with the Federal Budget.

But Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett is "disappointed” with Mayor Jack Dempsey's claim Bundaberg had been left out in the cold.

The absence of specific funding for any project in the Rum City had Mr Dempsey critical on Wednesday - but not Mr Bennett and Member for Bundaberg David Batt.

The LNP MPs instead praised national measures such as tax relief for low- and middle-income earners and funding for the elderly, tourism and the Bruce Highway as big wins for the Bundaberg region.

"I have to say I was disappointed in the Mayor's response,” Mr Bennett said.

"All levels of government should be working together for the betterment of this community.

"Funds are there for the taking if council has the motivation to put in for these major infrastructure upgrades around town.”

Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett.
Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett. TAHLIA STEHBENS

Mr Bennett said the Building Better Regions Fund, included in the budget again this year, had previously funded projects like the Burnett Heads Town Centre Redevelopment, the marine precinct at the port and the second stage of the IWC.

On Wednesday, Cr Dempsey, the former LNP Member for Bundaberg who quit the party before entering local politics, said "everyone's a winner - except Bundaberg” when it came to infrastructure funding in the budget.

Cr Dempsey was unavailable for comment yesterday but a Bundaberg Regional Council spokesman said the Mayor was "unashamedly a proud advocate for the Bundaberg region”.

"Council will continue to work co-operatively with local members and other levels of government to achieve positive outcomes for the community,” the spokesman said.

"Major infrastructure investments such as a level five hospital and upgrading the Port of Bundaberg require state and federal governments to contribute funds and work together in a bipartisan manner.”

Mr Bennett said he would like to see the revitalisation of Bundaberg's CBD and river-front redevelopment made a priority, something he believes the council has the capacity to achieve.

"With the billions of dollars that's now on offer, it's my expectation that all levels of government will keep pushing for these key projects that our region expects and deserves,” he said. With the Great Barrier Reef on our doorstep, Mr Bennett said he welcomed $500 million to help restore and protect the reef.

Mr Batt also had no complaints about the budget.

"Low- and middle-income earners across Bundaberg will benefit from paying less tax from 2018-19,” Mr Batt said.

"For the thousands of low- income earners in Bundaberg that's a $550 saving every year.”



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