Budget 2017: Have they forgotten Bundaberg?
IT has been less than a week since Hinkler MP Keith Pitt brought Coalition Minister Alan Tudge to town, yet Bundaberg has been left wondering if we have already been forgotten.
The Federal Government's 2017 Budget makes no mention of Bundaberg, nor does it include specific funding for upgrading regional stretches of the Bruce Highway as part of an $844 million package that includes major works in south-east Queensland.
Aside from the Wide Bay Highway and Bruce Highway intersection upgrade - part of the enormous seven-year cash splash - there is no mention of specifically upgrading parts of the highway in regional Queensland.
Stretches of the Bruce Highway in Bundaberg have claimed 34 lives since 2001.
The Federal Government's silence on Bundaberg follows Human Services Minister Alan Tudge's description of Mr Pitt as a "tremendous advocate for his community".
"He fights very hard in Canberra to get good economic development projects, to get better training in place."
Also missing in action in this year's Budget papers were funds to support the HMAS Tobruk, an upgrade of the Burnett Heads town centre and any new funding for the Port of Bundaberg.
However, a new training initiative growing out of changes to the 457 visa system could benefit Bundaberg.
The Federal Budget has revealed businesses who apply to use the new Temporary Skill Shortage visa to bring in skilled foreign workers will pay the levy into a newly created Skilling Australians Fund.
The Temporary Skill Shortage visa will replace the controversial 457 visa.
"This fund will ensure an ongoing source of revenue to support Australian skills development and the take-up of apprenticeships and traineeships," the budget papers said.