Hinchinbrook MP, Andrew Cripps, has welcomed the Federal LNP Government’s budget initiatives associated with North Queensland and called on the Commonwealth Parliament to pass it.

Mr Cripps said the Labor, Green and other minor party Senators had blocked key aspects of the last two federal Budgets, creating huge levels of uncertainty in the community across Australia.

“There are good initiatives for North Queensland in this federal budget and we need to move these programs forward for a change, instead of them being stalled in the Senate” said Mr Cripps.

“For example, North Queensland is set to benefit from the Northern Australia Roads Program, with $223.8 million for projects in Queensland, with $37.3 million to be provided in 2017-18” he said.

“Furthermore, the Northern Australian Beef Roads Program involves a $56.9 million in this budget for projects in Queensland, with $26 million to be provided in the coming financial year”.

“I welcome the Federal LNP Government’s $268.9 million allocation for a one-off Energy Assistance Payment of $75 for single pensioners and $125 for couples to help with power bills”.

Mr Cripps said the federal budget also contained a $9.1 million allocation to improve mental health services in regional and rural Australia by increasing the use of additional telehealth technology.

“I’m pleased to see a $200 million boost to the Building Better Regions Fund, which has supported the construction of community infrastructure and improved the liveability of regional areas”.

“The seven year, $1.1 billion investment through the Natural Heritage Trust in the National Land Care Program is a strong, long-term plan for sustainable natural resource management”.

Mr Cripps also welcomed the $24 million Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships program to improve education, training and employment opportunities for rural and regional students.

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