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Thursday, 10 May 2018
Page: 3766


Mr WALLACE (Fisher) (10:09): This week's federal budget was a congestion-busting one for the Sunshine Coast that will let people keep more of their own money, strengthen our local economy and give older Australians more choice in their retirement. My No. 1 priority is delivering the Bruce Highway upgrades that we need. This year's budget allocated an extra $880 million towards three-laning the remaining sections of the highway from the Sunshine Coast to Brisbane. That's on top of another $800 million for the Cooroy to Curra section, section D, just north of my electorate of Fisher. In less than two years, we've invested more than $3.4 billion in the Bruce Highway, just in our region alone. That's going to get local commuters home to their families sooner and more safely and ensure that tourists' abiding memory of our region is of the scenery of their dreams, not a congestion nightmare. However, we need more than just a better highway to solve our transport woes. This year's budget delivers there too, with a commitment of $390 million to duplicate the north coast railway line between Beerburrum and Landsborough. This will allow us to deliver more reliable and frequent rail services and get more heavy trucks off the Bruce.

As a result of this government's job-creating policies, times are good on the coast, with low unemployment and hundreds moving from welfare to work. But cost-of-living pressures remain high. This budget delivers lower taxes to more than 60,000 Sunshine Coast residents, which will let them keep up to $530 more of their pay every year. Over time, this budget will ensure that 94 per cent of Sunshine Coast taxpayers and, in fact, all Australian taxpayers, never have to pay more than 32½c in the dollar and ensure that it will always pay to work that extra hour or get that second job. For older Sunshine Coasters, this budget will let them earn up to $300 a fortnight from part-time work or owning a business without it affecting their pension. My Fisher Seniors Council and many other older residents have asked me about this important reform, to give them more choice and a more comfortable retirement, and this budget has delivered for them.

I'm also pleased to see that our hardworking chaplains, like Chappy Kelly Davis at Meridan State College and Chappy Mike Turner at Beerwah High, will continue to be supported, with a further $247 million for the National School Chaplaincy Program. I joined colleagues on our side of the House in advocating for this outcome and am particularly pleased to see that our chappies are receiving additional funding. (Time expired)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr S Georganas ): Before I call the next member, I welcome to the Federation Chamber the students from all around Australia who are participating in the Rotary Adventure in Citizenship.