Federal budget impacts mining regions

The announcement of the federal showed a dependence on the mining industry but it will impact various mining regions in different ways.

Many of the regions which provide mineral wealth for Australia’s economy to rely on will receive a $4.3 billion injection into healthcare, education and roads.

Federal Member for Kennedy in Queensland, Bob Katter told the North West Star he used his influence to get a good deal for the North West.

"Clearly if I have the power I am going to use it and flex my muscles," he said.

"I don’t want to abuse that power but if anyone thinks I am not going to use it they must believe in the tooth fairy."

Katter said it was encouraging to see the Queensland mining regions receive considerable airtime in the budget, with Treasurer Wayne Swan announcing $76 billion was planned by mining companies to be invested in the industry and over half a million jobs.

But Mount Isa Chamber of Commerce president and business owner Brett Peterson said it was disappointing to see the government relying so heavily on the mining boom to return the budget to surpluss.

"The government expects to ride on the back of the mining boom and then doesn’t put back into small business in mining communities – it’s a double whammy," he said.

"Here we are still recovering from all the talk of a mining tax last year and the economic downturn, and now there’s not much for small businesses in the budget."

The budget provided no detail on the carbon trading scheme, a move that has been criticised by the opposition, who say the budget will be completely altered when the tax is introduced.

Further south, the budget which is so reliant on what the Treasurer called “the mining boom mark 2” has left residents in New South Wales Hunter Valley with little delivered on identifiable projects for the region.

Newcastle MP Sharon Grierson warned miners in the region not to expect too much from the budget, and as such, the electorates held by key independents Rob Oakshott and Tony Windsor, Lyne and New England received what Hunter locals say is notable bias.

The Glendale transport interchange, the Newcastle federal courts complex and the Hexham to Fassifern rail link all missed out on budget funding, as did the University of Newcastle’s inner-city campus, according to the Newcastle Herald.

The budget did confirm a $1.8million study into the Scone rail overpass being compressed into a single year instead of being funded over two years as originally announced.

The largest piece of Hunter Region funding was confirmation that the $1.6billion Hunter Expressway would receive $648million in continued funding in the year from July.

Image: Rising Tide

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