Treasurers trade blows over Budget funds for Queensland

QUEENSLAND Treasurer Tim Nicholls is furious the Federal Budget did not include funding for Toowoomba's second range crossing and Brisbane's Cross River Rail project.

The Bruce Hway was earmarked $4.1 billion for upgrades over 10 years, with $1.7 billion already announced before the budget was revealed.

"We identified the Cross River Rail, the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing and the Bruce Highway as our top three commitments," Mr Nicholls said.

"There was nothing in this budget for a second Toowoomba Range Crossing - that's not looking after regional Queensland."

Mr Nicholls said the $715 million from the Federal Government for the Brisbane river crossing was not enough for the $4 billion project.

Mr Nicholls told journalists outside a post-budget breakfast that lower than expected funding for state health amounted to the wages of 5000 nurses.

Over the coming four years, Queensland is expected to be given an extra $1 billion in federal health funding, with $2.8 billion to be delivered in the next financial year.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said this was more than $400 million shy of the $3.26 billion promised by the Commonwealth Government previously.

Mr Springborg attacked the Gillard Government while not ruling out potential cuts to health staff..

He said Queensland Health staff would work hard to absorb these new cuts but "obviously we have to consider any budget impact from the Commonwealth Government".

The attack drew a sharp rebuke from Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan who accused the Queensland Government of cowardice.

"Instead of acting like cowards and hiding from their $3 billion cuts to frontline health services, the Premier and the Queensland Health Minister must take responsibility for their actions," Mr Swan said.

"The reality is that Premier Newman is ripping $3 billion out of the Queensland Health system at the same as the Federal Government is increasing funding to hospitals in Queensland by over $1 billion over the next four years."



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