Article – Budget 2015: Far north Qld hoping for Hann Highway funding, help for business

12 May 2015
Kristy Sexton-McGrath
ABC News

The Cairns Chamber of Commerce in far north Queensland says it is hoping to see funding for the sealing of the Hann Highway, inland of Cairns, in tonight’s federal budget.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott last week indicated the Federal Government would fund the link as part of the Northern Australia White Paper, now due out next month.

Chamber CEO Debb Hancock said it was also pushing for the development of the multi-billion-dollar Aquis resort and casino development at Yorkeys Knob.

She said businesses in the far north were also hoping for a helping hand.

“So we’ve heard some rumours and we’ve seen some early releases with regard to the budget around the Federal Government making provisions for business growth and strategies and being able to claim back for professional services to encourage business growth, so that will be very much welcomed,” she said.

“We’re also talking about seeing funds for the insurance taskforce and making sure there’s an allocation for that.”

Cook Shire Mayor Peter Scott said he wanted disaster funding uncertainty to end.

The Federal Government has indicated it will relax restrictions on councils using their staff for disaster repairs but wants to consult states and territories first.

Councillor Scott said small communities relied on the funding to survive.

“It’s not just Cook Shire, it’s every small regional [community] in Queensland,” he said.

“Tony Abbott’s talking about the northern development white paper, well this is integral to that and without it, you’re going to have towns drying up and dying.”

Courtesy of the ABC News

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