Reef, roads to benefit from budget

Queensland is set to gain from the federal budget as Canberra rolls out a $5 billion fund to provide cheap loans for new rail and port projects and spends more on the highways and rail.


Queensland, along with WA and the Northern Territory, are the beneficiaries of a new Northern Australia low-interest loan facility, which will inject capital into projects from ports to power stations.

The 2015/16 federal budget has also set aside $500 million for Bruce Highway work, $50 million for the Gateway Motorway North, $317 million for the Toowoomba second range crossing, $101.5 million for the Warrego highway, $48 million for the Cape York region and $102 million for the Moreton Bay rail link.

An extra $100 million over four years from 2015/16 will improve water quality and protect threatened species and coastal habitat along the Great Barrier Reef via the Reef Trust.

The next phase of the “There’s nothing like Australia” global tourism campaign will focus on a major documentary about the reef by renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough.

Queensland’s GST entitlement is earmarked to rise from $11.75 billion in 2014/15 to $12.99 billion in 2015/16.

Funding for specific purpose payments and general revenue assistance will rise from $23 billion in 2014/15 to $28 billion over the next four years.

Schools funding under the coalition’s Students First program will go from $3.04 billion in 2014/15 to $3.8 billion in 2017/18, but will depend on the next funding negotiation due in 2017.

Health and hospitals funding from federal coffers will go from just over $3 billion in 2014/15 to $3.65 billion in 2017/18 when the funding formula will change from Labor’s national health reform model to CPI plus population growth.

Defence projects are set to provide jobs in Townsville, Amberley, Kokoda Barracks and Wide Bay, with scientific research benefiting from $42 million over four years spent on the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine at James Cook University.