BUDGET WISHLIST: Bruce Hwy, rail top of the list
UPGRADES to the Bruce Highway and duplication of the Beerburrum to Nambour rail link are key shared wishes ahead of the Federal Budget to be brought down tonight.
The big ticket items are considered essential to the Sunshine Coast's continued economic growth.
In the case of the Bruce Highway, Sunshine Coast Chamber of Commerce president Michael Shadforth said upgrades were needed to remove barriers to Brisbane residents choosing the region for the short-breaks and day trips essential to a sustainable tourism industry.
Mr Shadforth warned the Turnbull Government against treating the Sunshine Coast as politically "safe" saying the region had consistently missed out on its fair share of infrastructure spending.
"We are Australia's ninth largest city and should be treated as such,'' he said.
"We need the necessary infrastructure to grow jobs and the economy.''
Mr Shadforth said upgrading the Bruce was critical but so too was the undersea internet cable link and the decentralisation of government departments.
He said for three weeks in a row gridlock on the highway had generated bad press for the Sunshine Coast.
Should the Bruce Hwy be the number one priority for the Sunshine Coast in the Federal Budget?
This poll ended on 09 May 2016.
Yes. It's so important for business, for tourism and residents.
No. Rail should be prioritised.
Both should be funded as a matter of urgency.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
The Bruce Highway and the Beerburrum to Nambour rail upgrade rated one and two on the State Government's wish list and third and sixth on that of the Queensland Chamber of Commerce and Industry which put the rail link behind the Brisbane Cross River Rail link and the Port of Brisbane dedicated freight rail connection.
The peak business body is confident the budget will prove a "pork-barrelling bonanza" for the Sunshine State.
CCIQ Director of Advocacy Nick Behrens said there was no question Queensland would be the key federal election battleground presenting a significant opportunity for it to secure vitally needed infrastructure spending.
Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt quantifies that expectation saying on population alone this state should receive $1 billion of $5 billion that will be allocated for public transport infrastructure.
"If NSW and Victoria receive the lion's share of a suggested $5 billion for public transport infrastructure in the Federal Budget, then Queenslanders will have every right to feel drastically short-changed," Mr Pitt said.
"Queensland should not be penalised for the simple fact that the Palaszczuk Government is keeping its election commitment not to sell our revenue-generating government-owned corporations.
"The LNP in Queensland has supposedly changed its tune on asset sales since the state election so there is no policy for selling off income-generating assets in Queensland, and we shouldn't be punished for that.
"It was the Abbott-Hockey government that changed that approach and tied funding to asset sales.
"Scott Morrison has a clear choice - either he allocates a fair share of federal infrastructure funds to Queensland in tomorrow night's Federal Budget or he abandons our state.
"If we are short-changed then every Queenslander will not have to wait long to tell him and the Prime Minister how they feel about being starved of their fair share of funds for essential projects."
Mr Pitt said a good place to start would be restoration of the 2014 Budget's $18bn in cuts to health and education.
But state Member for Caloundra Mark McArdle warned against an addiction to more money for health saying it needed to be spent more wisely with an eye to challenges to come 20 to 30 years down the track from the burden of disease.
"Our aged care health burden will compound,'' Mr McArdle said.
"We need to think smart with the money we get. Use of new technology and better models of care are simple to say but difficult to deliver."
Sunshine Coast Business Council chair Sandy Zubrinich is less concerned about big ticket infrastructure projects as she is in the budget's capacity to deliver confidence.
"I'm hoping it's not just an election budget but something that is more substantial, thoughtful and sensible and can demonstrate the economic context of its initiatives,'' she said.
"I have confidence Malcolm Turnbull can pull it off.
"I'm not looking specifically at what the Coast gets but whether the Budget instils confidence in families, the market and business.''
Ms Zubrinich said there was a lot of uncertainty in the economy. What was needed was not the injection of momentary boosts but measures that would see everyone benefit from a strong economy.
Ted O'Brien, who will contest Fairfax for the LNP, said jobs, infrastructure and a fair go for the region were his hopes for tomorrow night.
Tax incentives for small business which dominates the Coast's economy were essential as was the need to "imbed" the government's innovation agenda in the budget.
In terms of infrastructure Mr O'Brien said the Bruce Highway was the number one priority. He would also like to see programs that could unlock private capital to help fund big ticket infrastructure projects.
Labor's Fisher candidate Bill Gissane was expecting "a last-minute patch up job" from a government he said had come to the realisation it could not live on three-word slogans alone.
He said his party's revenue and spending policies had been in the public domain for some time.