THE Bligh government has warned today’s budget will be about repairing holes made by the summer’s natural disasters, but local representatives are still hoping for local benefits.
Treasurer Andrew Fraser said the state budget would reach $4.06 billion in deficit for 2011/12 and that it would take a further five years before Queensland’s finances return to surplus.
State member for Southern Downs Lawrence Springborg said the government couldn’t blame the deficit on the natural disasters.
“We’ve had natural disasters before – look at the 1974 floods,” he said.
“We’re talking about not only a budget in deficit, we’re talking about $2 billion dollars (for 2010/11) and we’re talking about nearly $80 billion in debt.
"That was built up before the natural disasters.”
Mr Springborg prioritised a couple of things in of his electorate which he hoped would get some state focus.
“All of our badgering of Craig Wallace and the government in regards to the Eight Mile (has had an effect).
"I received a letter from Mr Wallace saying he’s asked state department to look at a design concept for a grade separated intersection,” he said.
“It would be interesting to see in the budget if money has been set aside for planning for a grade separated intersection at the Eight Mile.”
While funding to build a graded separation is federal responsibility, the designs will have to come from the state.
Another priority Mr Springborg said, should be attending to the Granite Belt’s water supply issues.
Southern Downs Mayor Ron Bellingham said he was being realistic about the budget and didn’t expect to see any surprise handouts for Warwick.
“(The State Government’s) going to struggle because of the disasters that Queensland’s been through and as much as we can hope for is to have reconstruction effort back into the area,” he said.
“I’m not being very specific about that and I do recognise that it is a huge task right across Queensland now to try to get this state back on track again after what we’ve been through.”
Cr Bellingham said the local and state governments needed to continue to work as a partnership to rebuild the Southern Downs.
“Generally the state government has done a good job and has given their support to a lot of our sporting clubs (who were flooded),” he said.
“We need to keep focusing on issues such as drainage and the State Government needs to continue to support that.”