Another year, another budget, what the Sunshine Coast really needs is commitment from the State Government to deliver on important projects for the region in the budget to be handed down next Tuesday.
Shadow Minister for Finance and Better Regulation, Fiona Simpson MP, is calling on the State Government to invest in critical infrastructure projects and services to support the growth in population and to ensure the Sunshine Coast continues to be an attractive place to live with opportunities.
“The Sunshine Coast needs real commitments for key projects from the State Government as one of the fastest growing regions in the state,” Ms Simpson said.
My budget wishlist is:
- Police resources – More ACTUAL police resources to help keep our community safe, crime is rapidly increasing and our net number of new police is decreasing. You do the math.
- Maroochydore High School – fund the right the solution that provides safety for students and remove unacceptable risk for teachers supervising student and traffic movements outside of the school at pick up and drop off times. I’ve asked Questions On Notice and written to the Minister to raise awareness about the matter of protecting the students when they arrive and leave school.
- Rail to Maroochydore – we need an integrated Transport Plan that sets out timeframes for building heavy rail into Maroochydore along the preserved CAMCOS corridor and modernises the bus fleet to cleaner, greener buses with an overhaul of bus timetables and services to better connect people throughout the Sunshine Coast. Minister for Transport, Mark Bailey, is the King of Cover-up and it is a disgrace that they have interfered with the business case for the rail to Maroochydore. The Premier must take responsibility and pick up the phone to her Labor mates in Canberra to unfreeze the Federal funding and to commit the State for rail to Maroochydore. This infrastructure will support the growth in population and ensure the Sunshine Coast continues to be an attractive place to live with opportunities.
- Hospital Funding –increase funding to open the beds lying dormant at Sunshine Coast University Hospital and the to stop the current ambulance ramping and blow-outs in waiting times for the elective surgery waitlist and specialist outpatient appointments.
- Build-to-rent projects – unlock affordable housing by incentivising “build to rent” programs that attract private and public investment into the rental market to address housing shortages and the vacancy rates of less than 1%. Future planning also needs to be taken into consideration to unlock more rental properties. There are thousands of vulnerable Sunshine Coast residents on the waitlist and the level of social housing being built falls well short of need.
- Sunshine Coast Entertainment Convention and Exhibition Centre – this is a much-needed centre for the region’s growth as all major regional areas have one. The Centre will create jobs during the construction phase and beyond, as well as enhance our region’s liveability and opportunity to stage key events. The State Government has funded studies, not shovels in the ground. This project should be started, staged and grown in partnership with all tiers of government.
- Mooloolaba to Maroochydore Cycleway (M2M) – the State Labor Government promised to maintain $6.7m in funding after we won a re-design of the project in line with community feedback. However, the funding has now disappeared from the 4-year transport plan (QTRIP) contrary to the Minister’s promise. This must be put back in the budget as it’s time they kept their promise to fund it.
- Sunshine Motorway –The Mooloolah River Interchange and duplication of the Sunshine Motorway must go ahead with clear start dates.
I want to see the budget next week hold great news for the future of the Sunshine Coast and not be overlooked by the State Labor Government. The Sunshine Coast is an integral player in South-East Queensland, and as I said this time last year this needs to remembered if the ‘State Government is a Government for all of Queensland’, as they say they are.