Category: Media Release

$366,000 to fix road black spots in Hinkler

The Australian Government is delivering on its plan to build safer roads and a stronger economy through its record $500 million investment in the national Black Spot Programme.

Member for Hinkler, Keith Pitt, today announced funding of $366,348 to fix three black spots in the Hinkler electorate.

“I look forward to working together with all levels of government and the community to continually improve our local road network,” Mr Pitt said.

The approved projects are:

•           PIALBA (Old Maryborough Road Nissen Street), $167,489 to install channelised right turns, medians and pavement widening

•           PIALBA (Nissen Street Islander Road), $68,859 to install new intersection threshold treatments, line marking and signage

•           BUNDABERG (Barolin Street Crofton Street), $130,000 to restrict access from Crofton Street to left in/left out, improve pedestrian safety by installing raised kerb extensions and refuge areas and upgrade signage and line marking

The projects were recommended by a panel of independent road safety experts and will be delivered during the course of the coming financial year (2014-15).

Mr Pitt said this investment in Black Spot projects will deliver safer roads for Hinkler through targeted upgrades proven to deliver results.

“Black Spot projects target dangerous roads to save lives and reduce road trauma, ensuring our local roads are safer for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

“Anyone can suggest an intersection or stretch of road they believe should be considered for a safety upgrade, and I strongly encourage all councils and individuals to submit further nominations,” Mr Pitt said.

Further information and nomination forms can be downloaded from:

A recent evaluation of the programme found that fatal and casualty crashes are reduced at treated sites by 30%, equalling one life per year for every 84 projects.  This programme delivers genuine results by saving lives and returning around $7.70 for every $1 invested by reducing the number and cost of road crashes.

Media Contact:  Debbie Leis 0419 535 722

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Young Hinkler job seekers among the first to benefit from Work for the Dole

Bundaberg and Hervey Bay have been selected for phase one of the Coalition Government’s new Work for the Dole arrangements for young job seekers.

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt today announced 18 to 30 year olds, who have been unemployed for 12 months or more and receiving Newstart and/or Youth Allowance (other), will be required to Work for the Dole in 2014/15.

He said the first phase of the program would be rolled out in 18 communities across Australia, five of which are in Queensland. The program will be rolled out nationally in 2015.

“I’m extremely pleased Bundaberg and Hervey Bay have been selected. I have been fighting to get this program established in Hinkler, to help address the region’s high unemployment rate,” Mr Pitt said.

“Earlier this year, Assistant Minister for Employment Luke Hartsuyker visited Bundaberg to discuss some of the issues confronting young Hinkler job seekers, and our region more broadly.

“Work for the Dole is an important part of the Government’s plan to help young job seekers gain the skills and experience they need to move from welfare to work.

“The Coalition Government firmly believes that all Australians, who are capable of working, should be working.  They should be earning, learning or Working for the Dole.      

“Work for the Dole was a huge success in Hinkler when it was in place under the Howard Government.”

State Member for Hervey Bay Ted Sorensen said Work for the Dole participants helped build the footpaths and walkways along the town’s picturesque esplanade.

“I was Mayor at the time, and saw firsthand how the program helped build self-confidence and gave participants a sense of achievement,” Mr Sorensen said.

“Many of the participants gained long-term employment as a direct result of their involvement in Work for the Dole.”   

From 1 July 2014 participants will complete around 15 hours per week for six months in a work-like environment.

Local Work for the Dole Coordinators will be appointed, with tenders to be called this week.

Coordinators will have the vital, on-the-ground task of identifying local organisations willing to host a Work for the Dole place, and connecting those organisations with employment-service providers in the area.

Work for the Dole placements will be sourced in not-for-profit organisations, local councils and federal and state government agencies.

From 1 July 2015, when the program is rolled out nationally, all job seekers aged 18 to 30 and in receipt of Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance (other) will be required to undertake Work for the Dole for 25 hours per week when in receipt of payment.

Further information on the tender for the Work for the Dole Coordinators will be available at  from May29.

  1. Fairfield, Liverpool (NSW)
  2. Nepean, Outer Western Sydney (including Blue Mountains NSW)
  3. Central Coast (NSW)
  4. Shoalhaven (NSW)
  5. Richmond, Tweed, Clarence Valley (including Ballina and Byron Bay NSW)
  6. Coffs Harbour, Macleay, Hastings (NSW)
  7. Bundaberg (Qld)
  8. Fraser Coast (Qld)
  9. Outer North Brisbane (Qld)
  10. Cairns (Qld)
  11. Logan (Qld)
  12. Westgate (north west Melbourne Vic)
  13. Goulburn Valley (Vic)
  14. Peninsula (south eastern Melbourne Vic)
  15. Geelong (Vic)
  16. Central and West Metro (south west Perth WA)
  17. Northern Adelaide, Gawler (SA)
  18. West and North West, Launceston (Tas)

Media contact: Larine Statham 0427 653 814       

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Federal Minister for Small Business launches Expo

Minister for Small Business Bruce Billson today officially launched the inaugural Wide Bay Australia 2014 Bundaberg Business Expo.

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt welcomed Minister Billson to Bundaberg.

“Minister Billson’s visit is a show of the Coalition Government’s commitment to small business in regional Australia,” Mr Pitt said.

“After the Expo, I hosted a roundtable session to give Hinkler small businesses and representatives from the Hervey Bay Chamber of Commerce an opportunity to meet Minister Billson.

“I also took Minister Billson on a short tour of Bundaberg’s industrial precinct, and showed him how far the town has come since the 2013 floods.”

Minister Billson said he was excited to travel to Bundaberg to talk face-to-face with local business owners.

“Small businesses are a key driver of growth and jobs in communities like Hinkler and it’s great to see so many people come along to the Expo to make new business connections,” Minister Billson said.

“I was delighted to outline some of the Coalition’s policies to help small business grow and create jobs. We’re working to ensure fair competition between big and small businesses, and removing unnecessary red tape to save businesses time and money.”

Bundaberg BEC Manager Peter Peterson thanked Minister Billson and Mr Pitt for their attendance at the Expo.

“Well over 300 people registered for the event,” Mr Peterson said.

“It is events like these that enable businesses to share ideas, seek advice and be inspired.”

Mr Pitt congratulated Mr Peterson for putting together such a worthwhile and long overdue event.  

Media contact: Larine Statham 0427 653 814        

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Budget makes the difficult but necessary choices

The Abbott Government’s first Budget lays the foundations for a strong and prosperous economy with less debt, Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt says.

“At the election, the Coalition made the commitment to get the Budget back under control, as well as scrap the Carbon Tax, end the waste, stop the boats and build the roads of the 21st century.  This Budget keeps that pledge,” Mr Pitt said.

“The Budget is part of the Abbott Government’s Economic Action Strategy to build a strong, prosperous economy for a safe, secure Australia.

“The Government has made the difficult but necessary decisions to put the Budget on a more sustainable footing so that we can all share in prosperity in the future.

“We are all playing a part – because it’s in sharing the load that we lighten the load.

“Labor ran up five record deficits and left $123 billion in future deficits.  If we took no action, debt would have hit $667 billion.  Every month, the government is paying $1 billion in interest costs on Labor’s debt.

“Governments, like households, must live within their means.

“Because of this Budget, Labor’s deficits have been reduced by $43 billion and debt is forecast to be about $275 billion lower in a decade.”

The Budget includes:

  • Australia’s biggest infrastructure programme – with $50 billion in transport investment;
  • Creating the world’s biggest medical research endowment fund – the $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund.  It will find the cures of the future and be funded by the health reforms;
  • Requiring young people who can work to be earning, learning or participating in Work for the Dole;
  • Providing stronger incentives to businesses to hire older workers – businesses will receive up to $10,000 for employing workers older than 50;
  • Funding for additional road infrastructure by reintroducing twice-yearly indexation of fuel to CPI from 1 August 2014;
  • Providing Australian universities with the freedom to innovate through full deregulation;
  • Reforming the Age Pension to make it more sustainable – that includes gradually increasing the Age Pension age to 70 by 1 July 2035;
  • Freezing politicians’ pay and ending the life-time gold pass;
  • Changing family payments to target support to those who need it most; and
  • Introducing a three-year Temporary Budget Repair Levy – payable, from July, by individuals with a taxable income above $180,000 at a rate of two per cent. The Levy will ensure those on a higher income contribute to the Budget repair.

Mr Pitt said the Government was honouring its commitment to reduce the overall tax burden – so that families can plan their future and get ahead.

“Every year, the Carbon Tax is a $9 billion hit on the economy and it costs an average family $550.  We will scrap the Carbon Tax,” he said.

“Fewer than 4 per cent of taxpayers will pay the new Temporary Budget Repair Levy on high income earners making over $180,000.”

Mr Pitt said the largest roads Budget in our country’s history will improve Australia’s productivity.

“This record roads Budget will, in part, be funded by the change in fuel excise.  The change will cost about 40 cents a week, depending how far you travel.  The increase in fuel excise will be directed towards road funding.”

He said medical research will benefit from the changes to the Medicare Co-payment.  Prevention is always better than cure – and this will become a $20 billion fund in our future health.

“By making the Health system more sustainable and investing in medical research, we are ensuring that Australia remains the best and healthiest place in the world to raise a family and care for loved ones”.

“The key goal of the Budget is to strengthen the economy – because when you strengthen the economy, small businesses succeed, families have less pressure on them and jobs are created.”

Media contact: Larine Statham 0427 653 814        


  • $1 Million for Old Toogoom Road
  • $3.75 Million for River Heads Road
  • $350,000 for the Hervey Bay Hockey Association to install synthetic turf
  • $100,000 for a tower at the Hervey Bay Surf Lifesaving Club
  • $400,000 to extend the Bundaberg Surf Lifesaving Club
  • $27,000 for Bundaberg Regional Council to install a surf safety/surveillance camera at the Elliott River Mouth
  • $27,000  for Bundaberg Regional Council to install a surf safety/surveillance camera at Palmers Creek in Innes Park
  • $27,000 for Bundaberg Regional Council to install a surf safety/surveillance camera at Mon Repos
  • $12,000 for Bundaberg Regional Council to install a permanent Emergency Response beacon at Mon Repos
  • $125,000 for the Centenary of Anzac Local Grants program across Hinkler
  • A total of $6.7 Billion to fix the Bruce Highway
  • $10.3 Billion over 2013-14 to 2018-19, plus an additional $3.1 Billion from 2019-20, for  infrastructure in Queensland
  • $1 Billion for the National Stronger Regions Fund to create stronger, more prosperous regional communities (specifically targeting areas with high unemployment)
  • $300 Million nationally for the new Bridges Renewal Programme
  • $100 Million nationally for the mobile telephone phone Black Spots Programme
  • $320 Million in drought relief measures including $280 million in drought concessional loans, $12 Million for emergency water infrastructure, $10 million for pest management in drought affected areas and $10.7 million in social and mental health support
  • $100 Million extra for applied agricultural research and development
  • $8 Million to improve access to agricultural and veterinary chemicals
  • $20 Million to build a stronger biosecurity and quarantine system
  • An extra $9 Million for fisheries, including more support for recreational and commercial fishing bodies, support for these groups to meet maritime standards, and a review of invasive marine pests
  • $15 Million to help small exporters with costs
  • No changes to the diesel fuel rebate
  • Removal of $1 Billion a year in red tape, because regulation means more staff doing paperwork and fewer staff helping customers
  • Cutting company tax by 1.5 per cent for about 800,000 businesses
  • $10,000 to each business that employs an Australian over the age of 50, who has been on unemployment benefits or the disability support pension for six months
  • $14.9 million over two years from 2013-14 to phase in a new Work for the Dole programme for young job seekers
  • From July, the Government will support those learning a trade by providing concessional Trade Support Loans of up to $20,000 over a four-year apprenticeship
  • $245.3 million over four years to continue the National School Chaplaincy program
  • The Coalition will deliver more than $12 Billion in overall funding to the veteran community, including honouring our commitment to deliver fair indexation for military superannuants
  • $40 million for a Reef Trust to support the improvement of coastal habitat, water quality and enhancing species protection along the Great Barrier Reef
  • Creating more opportunities for students with low socio-economic backgrounds and from regional areas through a Commonwealth scholarships initiative

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Funding announced for WWI memorials across Bundaberg

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt today announced almost $50,000 for organisations in Bundaberg and Bargara to commemorate the Centenary of the First World War.

Mr Pitt said the Bundaberg Regional Council would receive $44,941 under the Anzac Centenary Local Grants Program, to build a memorial on the Bargara esplanade in time for 100th anniversary commemorations in 2015.

“The Bargara Dawn Service has been so well attended in recent years that the current memorial site is at capacity,” Mr Pitt said.

“The new WWI memorial will accommodate larger crowds to inform, educate and inspire future generations.

“The memorial will feature a catafalque commemorating the Anzac spirit, and form part of Council’s broader refurbishment of the esplanade.”

Mr Pitt said the Bundaberg & District Ex-Service Women’s Association would receive $1668 to commemorate when the first contingent of Australian Army Nursing Sisters departed for Gallipoli.

President Jenny Waldron said the Association would revitalise the War Nurses Memorial Park, across from the Bundaberg Base Hospital, to include a new Australian Service Nurses Memorial Wall that will complement the existing heritage-listed pavilion.

“The wall will also feature a special plaque to acknowledge the woman who served in units and hospitals other than the Australian Army Nursing Service. We are seeking the community’s help to ensure all our nurses are named,” Ms Waldron said.

“Sacrifice, courage, devotion, faith, hope and charity will be the memorial’s central themes.

“We are truly grateful for the support we have received from our local representatives and the community.”

Hinkler applications for the Anzac Centenary Local Grants Program closed on January 31. They were assessed for eligibility by an independent local committee and sent to Minister Michael Ronaldson for final approval.

“I’m delighted to announce these very worthwhile local projects, which commemorate one of the most significant events in Australia’s history,” Mr Pitt said.

Media contact: Larine Statham 0427 653 814

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Funding announced for WWI memorials in Isis district

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt today announced $13,000 for organisations in Woodgate and Childers to commemorate the Centenary of the First World War.

Mr Pitt said the Woodgate RSL Sub-Branch would receive $10,000 under the Anzac Centenary Local Grants Program, to build a memorial on the esplanade.

“Patronage at the Anzac Dawn Service in Woodgate has grown significantly in recent years, despite the absence of an official memorial,” Mr Pitt said.

“The impressive memorial proposed by Woodgate RSL will feature four pillars to represent Army, Navy, Air Force and Nursing and includes educational information that details the significance of WWI.

“The memorial has been thoughtfully designed to facilitate commemorations in 2015, and to be a lasting legacy for future generations.”

Mr Pitt said the Childers Military and Memorabilia Museum had been granted $3000.

“The museum, which is operated by a generous and dedicated local family, has a considerable collection of WWI memorabilia that they had previously been unable to display,” he said.

“They will purchase cabinets to display and preserve the pieces for the thousands of tourists, locals and school children who visit the museum each year.”

Hinkler applications for the Anzac Centenary Local Grants Program closed on January 31. They were assessed for eligibility by an independent local committee and sent to Minister Michael Ronaldson for final approval.

“I’m delighted to announce these very worthwhile local projects, which commemorate one of the most significant events in Australia’s history,” Mr Pitt said.

“I look forward to seeing these projects delivered in time for the 2015 anniversary.”

Media contact: Larine Statham 0427 653 814

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Pitt announces $50,000 for WWI memorial in Hervey Bay

The Federal Government will contribute $50,000 towards the expansion of the Freedom Park war memorial in Hervey Bay, under the Anzac Centenary Local Grants Program.

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said the Hervey Bay RSL Sub-Branch would use the funds to help purchase a bronze statue of a light horseman.

“The memorial is simply breathtaking, and an inspiring example of what can be achieved when a community works together,” Mr Pitt said.

“The memorial will include a granite wall, with Anzac Centenary 1915-2015 etched in gold. The light horseman will depict the jumping of the trenches.

“Before now, Freedom Park could only accommodate about 2,000 people on Anzac Day.

“The Hervey Bay RSL Sub-Branch is to be commended for its commitment to redeveloping the memorial at Freedom Park, to ensure more people can attend Anzac services comfortably and safely,” Mr Pitt said.

Hervey Bay RSL Sub-Branch President John Kelsey thanked Mr Pitt and the Federal Government for the contribution.

“This is one of the largest projects being undertaken in Queensland for the Centenary,” Mr Kelsey said.

“With this funding, we can now get the magnificent bronze statue under way to unveil when the National President of the RSL visits Hervey Bay in October.

“We look forward to local businesses also getting behind us with donations.”

Hinkler applications for the Anzac Centenary Local Grants Program closed on January 31. They were assessed for eligibility by an independent local committee and sent to Minister Michael Ronaldson for final approval.

“I’m delighted to announce this very worthwhile local project, which commemorates one of the most significant events in Australia’s history,” Mr Pitt said.

“I look forward to seeing the project delivered in time for the 2015 anniversary.”

Media contact: Larine Statham 0427 653 814

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Road upgrades at Howard commence

Upgrades to the Bruce Highway continue with construction starting today on a $6 million overtaking lane north of Howard.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the new overtaking lane will improve traffic conditions for north-bound motorists.

“Once complete, the overtaking lane will allow for fast-travelling motorists to avoid slow-moving traffic such as freight vehicles,” Mr Truss said.

“Not only will that improve efficiency, it will improve safety by giving drivers a dedicated area to pass.

“This project is another example of our commitment to fixing the Bruce Highway.”

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said the project was an investment in local road safety.

“Locals and every other driver along that stretch of the highway will be delighted to see traffic moving at a steady rate once the project is complete,” Mr Pitt said.

“The Bruce Highway is our key road link in this area, and travellers heading north from Maryborough to other regional centres will soon be able to complete their journey with fewer delays and greater safety.”

The upgrade also includes a one-metre wide median strip, with construction expected to finish in August 2014.

Media Contacts

For Mr Truss: Kate Barwick 0408 072 809
For Mr Pitt: Larine Statham 0427 653 814

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It’s time to think big about Australian agriculture

Hinkler residents will today have their say on the future of Australia’s agriculture sector.

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said Bundaberg was the final stop on the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper Taskforce’s listening tour across Australia.

“The Taskforce has visited 25 regional centres and eight capital cities since February, as part of the Coalition’s plan to make agriculture more profitable and rural communities more prosperous,” Mr Pitt said.

Hinkler farmers and stakeholders will attend one-on-one meetings and a community round-table session today.

“Our local industry leaders, farmers, and those in sectors like banking and transport, are full of practical ideas to deliver greater returns and now is the time to share them,” Mr Pitt said.

Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers (BFVG) Executive Officer Peter Hockings said the Taskforce’s visit was a great opportunity for local farmers to outline their ideas to make Australian agriculture more competitive.“Our region’s growers are struggling to remain competitive with the currently high costs of labour, electricity, red tape and other impediments,” Mr Hockings said.

“We welcome the current Government’s approach to engagement, which opens proactive industry consultation for future policy development.”

Mr Pitt said information gathered during the consultation process would be used to develop a Green Paper, which will be released in mid-2014.

Written submissions can be made up until 5pm on April 17 (this Thursday).

The final White Paper, due for release at the end of the year, will outline the Government’s long term plan for the sector.   

Media contact: Larine Statham 0427 653 814        

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Meeting to discuss mobile telephone coverage in Hinkler

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications Paul Fletcher and Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt today met with residents and businesses in Hervey Bay to discuss mobile coverage blackspots across the region.

In December last year, Hinkler residents were invited to comment on a discussion paper on how to structure the Coalition’s $100 million programme to improve mobile coverage in regional Australia.

Mr Fletcher briefed Bundaberg and Hervey Bay Mayors Mal Forman and Gerard O’Connell, State Member for Hervey Bay Ted Sorenson and Hervey Bay Chamber of Commerce representatives about the $80 million Mobile Network Expansion Project and $20 million Mobile Blackspot Project.

Mr Pitt said local residents, health workers, real estate agents and telecommunications providers also voiced their concerns about mobile coverage issues.

“Inadequate mobile phone coverage is a significant concern for regional communities. Lives can literally depend on accessing mobile phone networks in emergencies, so expanding mobile phone coverage has clear benefits to public safety – as well as to the productive and economic capacity of regional communities like Hinkler,” Mr Pitt said.

Mr Fletcher opted to drive along the Bruce Highway as part of his tour throughout southern and central Queensland. 

“I wanted to experience firsthand the many mobile coverage issues along Queensland’s major arterial road,” he said.  

While formal submissions closed on February 28, the Department of Communications continues to accept nominations of locations to be included in a database of areas reported to have poor or no mobile coverage. Locations can be emailed to

Media contact: Larine Statham 0427 653 814        

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