FEDERAL BUDGET: How Rockhampton fared

GAS mining and family court matters were the key budget winners for the Rockhampton, Livingstone and Emerald regions this afternoon.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg's extensive budget papers confirmed funding for the upgrade of the Rockhampton Federal Circuit Court building and also a renewed commitment to opening up multiple basins for gas exploration.

The FCC hears a range of matters of concern to central Queenslanders, including issues related to parenting, children and also property divisions.

Mr Frydenberg said the Rockhampton FCC registry will receive a share of $7.7m allocated to improve the safety and security of the registry and also one in Tasmania.

While the extensive budget papers mention four major road projects in Rockhampton, Yeppoon and Emerald - including the Capricorn Highway Rockhampton to Gracemere Duplication - none of them will receive new funding this year.

While specific commitments for the region were thin on the ground, local residents and businesses could hope to benefit from the decision to open up key areas for gas exploration.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg set aside $28.3m to develop five 'strategic basin plans'.

It is a move that Federal Resources Minister Keith Pitt claims will 'unlock and accelerate the development of vast gas reserves, increase domestic supply and lower prices for households and businesses' across the country.

 

The Federal Government has confirmed Australia’s power future will be fuelled by gas.
The Federal Government has confirmed Australia’s power future will be fuelled by gas.

 

The Galilee Basin and the Bowen Basin are now slated for accelerated development.

Mr Pitt said this would see 'more gas at a lower price' while 'supporting jobs in Australia's manufacturing sector', with expectations that jobs could flow to areas like Rockhampton, Livingstone and Emerald.

The Northern Territory's Beetaloo Basin is also on the radar.

The government will also spend $13.7m over four years to provide 'quality assured scientific research and information to communities living in gas development regions' through the CSIRO's Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance.

"This complements investments … in an inaugural National Gas Infrastructure Plan, as well as gas regulatory reform initiatives," Mr Pitt said in a media release.

A further $124.5m will fund the expanded Exploring for the Future Program.

Rockhampton's tourism sector can expect to benefit from the $51m Regional Tourism Recovery fund, which will help region's like ours pivot from a reliance on international visitors to taking advantage of the domestic tourist market.

The Government will also provide $11.6m over the coming three years for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to continue managing the reef and supporting businesses significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $30.3m national Regional Connectivity Program will help improve telecommunications connectivity in regional areas.

Other commitments that may benefit our residents and businesses include:

•An extension of the $200m Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) for a fifth round;

•$41m for a Research and Development Program to pay for research and development activities that will benefit regional industries;

•An additional $28.1m to extend the Stronger Communities Program;

•The $5.7m Building Strong, Resilient Regional Leaders initiative; and

•The $5m for the Regional Australia Institute's research program and promotion of regional living.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud also announced more than $300 million in funding to help modernise Australia's agriculture export systems.

"Agricultural exports are critical to Australia's economic recovery. That's why this Budget is delivering the $328 million Busting Congestion for Agricultural Exporters Package," Mr Littleproud said.

"This suite of reforms will modernise Australia's export systems by slashing red-tape and streamlining regulation and service delivery for our farmers."

"We're making it faster and cheaper for farmers to get their product to market, while retaining the levels of quality and assurance that have made our exports world-class."

The package includes $222.2m over four years for digital services to take farmers to market, including a 24/7 touch point for exporters and $10.9m over three years to create a more competitive meat export industry. - WITH GEOFF EGAN

 

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