Local News

Roads, hospitals and housing top state budget wish list


Mackay leaders are hoping for significant investment into housing and road infrastructure when the State Government reveals its budget today.

The Treasurer will hand down his 2021-22 finances as pressure mounts for the government to deliver on promises it made in the lead up to last year's election.

Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson, LNP Member for Whitsundays Amanda Camm, and ALP Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert all want money to tackle the housing shortage, which is gripping many regional areas.

Ms Camm says funding to support population growth needs to be a priority.

She is also calling for the upgrade to Mackay-Bucasia Roads to be fast-tracked to be included in this budget, instead of the 2023-24 budget.

"Projects like the Mackay-Bucasia Roads upgrades where we've seen significant increase in traffic numbers with the growth of the Northern Beaches ... these are infrastructure projects that are going to help set our region up for the future.

"They're going to meet the demands of growth and also meet the demands of our local industries," Ms Camm says.

Mr Williamson says there are other issues with the local transport network.

"There is a section of the first stage of the [Mackay] Ring Road that remains unresolved, they're calling it the 'missing link' so it would be nice to see some money come out of it for the missing link."

He is also anticipating mental health to be a focus in the financial books.

"Even recovery from the last downturn in this region, we're still feeling the effects of suicide, mental health and well being, drug and alcohol abuse and all of those sort of things," he says.

Investment in regional health

Last week, Treasurer Cameron Dick announced $100 million for regional healthcare.

Ms Gilbert is hoping health spending will result in an upgrade to Sarina Hospital.

She echoes sentiments around much-needed social housing, saying 15 new units in Mackay are only going to make a small dent in the long list of people needing accommodation.

"That has been a terrible situation across the whole of Australia," Ms Gilbert says.

She is also asking for smaller road upgrades.

"It's really important that besides having those big road projects, the Mackay Ring Road, the Walkerston bypass ... that we have those upgrades to our smaller roads also."

The state budget is set to be handed down at 2pm this afternoon.