Election cash splash but not here on Fraser Coast
THEY'RE splashing the cash around in Canberra as the Federal election race heats up - but the big question is, will the Fraser Coast region benefit from its share of the largesse?
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was yesterday up the road in central Queensland, where he pledged $130 million for a weir project.
Significantly, he conceded for the first time that the Fraser Coast Chronicle's support for the Fair Go for Regional Australia campaign was justified.
Asked whether there was need to close the funding gaps between metro and regional areas, he replied: ''Absolutely.''
The Chronicle's campaign, in association with NewsCorp, has revealed startling differences between health and welfare metrics in metro and regional areas.
The Prime Minister said the Rookwood Weir announcement was part of addressing the obvious inequalities.
"This is a vital investment in regional Australia," he said.
However, the funding announcement came on a visit to the Capricornia seat, one of the most marginal in the July 2 election.
Fraser Coast officials could well be wondering if they have any hopes of much-needed project funds when the election race here is more clearcut. Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt has, however, pledged $200,000 for a feasibility study into a bridge crossing the Burrum River, if re-elected.
Elsewhere in this region, a $6 million project to flood-proof Maryborough's CBD began on Monday.
But it is funded by the Queensland Government and the Fraser Coast Regional Council and officials are warning of a financial nightmare unless the Federal government addresses uncertainty around the future of rural disaster relief funds.
The Local Government Association of Queensland and the State Government are calling on the Coalition and the ALP to give our region a fair go by reversing a decision to withhold disaster relief payments. That decision was made when the Turnbull Government claimed it had concerns about eligibility of some of the claims.
But while there is fear for the future of that vital money here, Mr Turnbull was talking about fairness in election-vital central Queensland.
He said regional Australia benefitted from a diverse economy, including "enormous growth in tourism" and "phenomenal growth in agriculture".
"We've talked about the dining boom overtaking the mining boom," Mr Turnbull said.
"Well, we can have both.''
Please sir, can we sit at the dining table? That might well be what Fraser Coast officials are asking today.