Budget: Bucketts Way upgrade confirmed

EIGHT million dollars will "start to flow for the upgrade of the Bucketts Way in the Gloucester and Greater Taree City Council areas", according to federal member for Lyne, Dr David Gillespie.

Dr Gillespie announced the long-awaited investment in the region as Manning Valley residents looked to the 2014 federal budget to see if it contained any windfalls for the Greater Taree area. The $8 million is only part of funding required to complete the roadworks with Dr Gillespie explaining that the remaining funds for the project will "be made available in next year's budget when the upgrade is due for completion".

"Over $17 million in federal funding has also been allocated to projects scheduled for completion in 2014/15 as part of the Coalition Community Development Grants program including $10 million to upgrade infrastructure in the Manning.

"A further $292,000 has been allocated in the budget for new CCTV in the Taree CBD."

He added "the coalition would also begin delivering on the $300 million bridge renewal program."

Greater Taree City Council mayor, Paul Hogan welcomed the announcement of funding for Bucketts Way roadworks.

"I am thankful the communities of Gloucester and Taree will at last be able to see some money spent on the Bucketts Way. It's good news and will be welcomed by the people who use that road every day," Cr Hogan said.

"However, overall I am very disappointed that the budget contains no money for the area for the next 12 months. Money that could have been used to create jobs as our region has taken such a hit in recent times with 1300 jobs going from this area."

Cr Hogan is concerned by the possible impacts of proposed federal budget measures on the young and aged people in our community.

"Youth unemployment sits between 17 and 20 per cent and I really feel for these young people and what the budget proposes for the services and support they will receive, and as for the GP fee, it is an unfair hit, particularly on the elderly in our community.

"Our region has a large number of elderly residents and that is because people selected this area for a change in their lifestyle, and its excellent aged care services and health care services.

"To be asked to make a co-contribution payment every time they see a doctor will impact on their everyday living expenses. That payment is two bottles of milk and for many people, that is so important. It is an unfair hit."

Dr Gillespie says medical research will benefit from the changes to Medicare.

"Prevention is always better than cure and this will become a $20 billion fund in our future health," he explained.

"By making the health system more sustainable and investing in medical research, we are ensuring that Australia remains the best and healthiest place in the world to raise a family and care for loved ones.

"The key goal of the budget is to strengthen the economy because when you strengthen the economy, small businesses succeed, families have less pressure on them and jobs are created."

Dr Gillespie said the budget included the largest roads funding program in Australian history and would help families, particularly in regional Australia spend less time travelling and will improve Australia's productivity.

"This record roads budget will, in part, be funded by the change in fuel excise. The change will cost about 40 cents a week, depending how far you travel. The increase in fuel excise will be directed towards road funding."

"This budget will ensure the continuation of the current $4 billion schedule of Pacific Highway works. It also includes more money for local roads through additional investments in the Roads 2 Recovery and Black Spots programs."

Dr Gillespie said he was delighted to see the Deputy Prime Minister announce that a further $200-million will be made available across Australia to the federal Blackspots program, on top of the $60 million a year it had already committed. There are a number of potential projects worthy of this important road safety program, and I would encourage council to put forward projects for consideration," Dr Gillespie said.