Budget hits and misses
Mayor still hoping for airport cash
THE 2017–18 Federal Budget “largely missed” the Whitsunday region, according to Whitsunday Mayor Andrew Willcox.
However, nothing could sum up Cr Willcox’s hope more than the Federal Government’s own budget slogan promising “better days ahead”.
“We wait with fingers and legs crossed for a number of Commonwealth funding initiatives to get the tick of approval,” he said.
“We have major catalyst projects in the next round of the Building Better Regions funding, including the Whitsunday Coast Airport, so look forward to positive news shortly.
“Our region and its community copped the brunt of Tropical Cyclone Debbie and we have been very proactive in chasing our share of disaster funding, so hopefully the respective governments deliver.”
Dawson MP George Christensen declared there was some good news in the Budget, including a $600,000 allocation for Whitsunday Regional Council to construct a new road into Airlie Beach along Cutuli Rd between Riordanvale and Paluma Rds.
He also said the continuation of the Building Better Regions program would likely deliver funding to the Whitsunday Coast Airport.
“There is an application before the Federal Government for $10 million from the Building Better Regions Fund (for the airport),” he said.
“I think that project is highly likely to be funded. I have had a look at the applications that have come out from that fund and by far the airport is the strongest application, and it ticks all the boxes in terms of trying to broaden the economic base of the region.”
Mr Christensen defended the Budget against any suggestion the Whitsundays missed out.
“We have set aside in excess of $1.2 billion to deal with the Cyclone Debbie aftermath recovery (and) the vast bulk of that will come into the Whitsunday Regional Council area,” he said.
“I believe we will soon see Category D funding announced and that will enable a lot more work to happen locally.”
Meanwhile Labor Senator Anthony Chisholm said the Budget was a “kick in the teeth” for the Dawson electorate.
UP IN AIR: Tourism Whitsundays’ Craig Turner and Mayor Andrew Willcox hop e to secure airport funds.