Bud­get hits and misses

Mayor still hop­ing for air­port cash

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Ja­cob Wil­son ja­cob.wil­son@ whit­sun­day­times.com.au

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.

PHOTO: INGE HANSEN

UP IN AIR: Tourism Whit­sun­days’ Craig Turner and Mayor An­drew Will­cox hop e to se­cure air­port funds.

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