BUDGET: Ann Leahy (right) with opposition leader Deb Frecklington.
BUDGET: Ann Leahy (right) with opposition leader Deb Frecklington. Michael Doyle

Projects funded while youth employment rises

THE STATE budget will increase the cost of living, according to the Warrego MP. Ann Leahy said the five new taxes will "impact business and households”, and stated the $83 billion debt was taking funds away from infrastructure projects.

In a statement made after the budget, Ms Leahy said the state's unemployment and debt was causing huge problems.

"Not only is there debt to pay back but the growing interest bill diverts funds away from necessary infrastructure projects like hospitals, roads and front line services,” Ms Leahy said.

"The State Government has failed to deliver on the Premier's target to reduce unemployment below six percent despite more than three years in the job.

"Unemployment has risen from 6.1 per cent to 6.5 per cent or equal to the worst in the nation and a staggering 54.2 per cent in youth unemployment in the outback.”

The youth unemployment in regional and rural Queensland was a concerning issue for the Warrego member.

Ms Leahy said she was disappointed the budget did not address the issue.

"When you look at two young people walking down the street, one of them does not have a job,” she said.

"Those young people are the future of our region and while they are young we have to get them into a job.”

Ms Leahy said she has been keeping a close eye on the Warrego Highway upgrade, which has received funding in the budget.

"I have been fighting hard with the community for infrastructure projects and have been successful in securing budget funding,” Ms Leahy said.

The Dalby Eastern and Western Access upgrade will receive a $21.3 million funding boost, while $20.2 million will be invested into overtaking lanes between Dalby and Miles on the highway.

Also in Dalby, $751, 000 will be invested into the development of the Dalby Civic Centre and $2.8 million to fund classrooms and an administration block for Dalby State School.

Ms Leahy also said she was pleased Tuesday night's budget included funding for the redevelopment for the Roma Hospital, which she said was important.

"A project that is extremely close to my heart, is the Roma Hospital redevelopment which is set to receive $40 million,” Ms Leahy said.

Other projects in Ms Leahy's electorate which has received funding include the Thargomindah Geothermal Power Plant which has been given $2.6 million and $500,000 to upgrade the Dirranbnandi fire station.