Bruce Highway Congestion (Image courtesy SCRC).
The Federal Government’s decision to spend $536.4 million upgrading the Bruce Highway between Pine Rivers and Caloundra would make travel to and from the Sunshine Coast much safer, according to Regional Development Australia Sunshine Coast CEO Darrell Edwards.
Mr Edwards described the decision, announced by Treasurer Scott Morrison in last night’s Budget, as “fantastic” for the region and its commuters.
“Many groups have been lobbying for investment in infrastructure for a long time and this is a great result,” he said.
The funding is part of a total of $844 million, which will be spent on the Bruce Highway, long considered to be one of the nation’s most dangerous roads.
Mr Edwards acknowledged that the Sunshine Coast had been a major benefactor of the Budget’s focus on infrastructure and regional growth.
He said the approval of a concessional loan to construct a new Moreton Bay campus of the University of the Sunshine Coast would increase educational facilities and drive jobs for the broader region.
Mr Edwards noted that small business would benefit from the continuation of the $20,000 capital expenditure write off.
“This is an important tax break as small business struggles to grow and compete in a changing business environment,” he said.
The Government’s strong commitment to transport infrastructure spending over the next decade – particularly its $8.4 billion investment in the Melbourne-Brisbane inland rail project was also pleasing. The new rail link will improve access to and from regional markets for many businesses.
Mr Edwards welcomed a $20 million commitment for feasibility studies into a rail program to connect capital cities with regional centres, and the extension of funding for the Building Better Regions Fund and Regional Development Australia committees.
The Government will provide $22.5 million to deliver a third round of the Stronger Communities Program next year. The program funds small capital projects in local communities and helps to develop vibrant communities across Australia.
RDA Sunshine Coast was also pleased to see the Government commit $472.2 million over the next four years to establish a Regional Growth Fund which would provide grants of $10 million or more for major projects supporting long-term economic growth and jobs growth in regions undergoing structural adjustment.
Regional Development Australia Sunshine Coast
Phone: 5479 6554
Mobile: 0409 093 584