From the editor's desk: Budget gets a C- for Bundy
I'VE given Treasurer Scott Morrison a C- for this Budget.
While many workers in the Bundaberg region will have a little more cash in their wallets to spend in the future and our more senior residents will be sporting smiles a little wider today, it would have been great to have seen a big-ticket funding announcement for the region.
Mayor Jack Dempsey rightly highlighted the fact the Budget delivered little directly for Bundaberg. This region needs its fair share and nothing will be achieved if we sit back silenty and don't champion our cause, particularly with a likely federal election around the corner.
I may be cynical, but I wouldn't be surprised to see the government roll out announcements in future months and you know what they say about the squeeky wheel?
While the Turnbull Government's role is to look at the broad national picture and I think it has done this well (overall I'd give the Budget a B+), given our current plight we need support and a show of commitment to our future.
There were opportunities for Bundaberg that weren't taken.
LISTEN: What the Budget means for you.
My concern for our region is that the government needs to deliver on the forecast three per cent national economic growth which underpins this Budget.
In Bundaberg, with our high unemployment rate, we need this growth to happen here or we risk falling even further behind our big city cousins.
I like to think I'm an optimist, but the jury is still out on whether we will get this level of growth unless we change the trajectory.
It's not just the council and federal government's job to achieve this - the state needs to play its role too.
If we don't see the growth then the outlook remains bleak for our many young jobless who not only face a tough environment to find work but also cost of living pressures. And, this is one group that won't have the extra dollars in their pockets.
Asked what was in the Budget for our young unemployed, Mr Pitt today spoke about the continuation of current programs before saying: "The best thing we can do is ensure more jobs are available".
He said the government's planned tax changes, which also incorporate small and large businesses, would help deliver a stronger regional economy. Mr Pitt described the Rum Capital as being at a "tipping point" with the Bundaberg port a catalyst for future jobs and spoke about what the government's Regional Jobs and Investment package had already delivered.
"Economically, agriculture is moving along very strongly," Mr Pitt said as he detailed a number of recent trade agreements that would further bolster the sector.
"Tourism is a boon for our region and with the ex-HMAS Tobruk to be sunk soon, this will only bring more people here."
Aside from the tax cuts, given our high number of senior citizens it was encouraging to see the changes in the aged care space as well.
I'd love to hear your thoughts. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org