May 10, 2023

The Albanese Labor Government’s first full year Budget breaks its election promise to deliver a better future for all Australians. 

At the 2022 election Mr Albanese promised “cheaper mortgages” and “cheaper electricity bills” and no one would be left behind. But Australian families are making higher mortgage payments, power bills are skyrocketing, and more people are struggling to make ends meet. 

The 2023-24 Budget shows that unemployment will rise, the cost of living will continue to increase, there will be no growth in real wages this year, gas and electricity bills will continue to skyrocket and inflation will remain stubbornly high. 

Federal Member for Wide Bay, Llew O’Brien said the Budget will provide some additional assistance to some Australians in receipt of Centrelink payments and who hold concession cards, but the Labor Government is adding a whopping $185 billion in additional expenditure in its Budget. 

“This will only add to inflation and put more pressure on interest rates, making it even harder for people with mortgages to balance their budgets,” Mr O’Brien said. 

“Despite the supposed energy bill relief, the Budget confirms that bills will increase by almost $500. We need a budget that fights inflation at the source, not one that deals with symptoms.” 


Mr O’Brien said there is no mention of the four lane Tiaro bypass in the Albanese Labor Government’s 2023-24 Budget. 

“I am very concerned that the $269 million funding allocation our community secured from the former Coalition Government for the four lane Tiaro bypass has now been pushed out to a 90 day review of the $120 billion infrastructure pipeline, announced by the Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister, Catherine King,” Mr O’Brien said. 

“The Minister has said the Labor Government’s $3 billion Brisbane Olympics commitment is exempt from the review, but the four lane Tiaro bypass isn’t. Surely the life-saving Tiaro bypass can be quarantined from Labor’s cuts in the same way the Brisbane Olympics are? 

“I’m putting the Government on notice not to cut, defer, delay or reduce the scope of the Tiaro bypass.  The section of the Bruce Highway through Wide Bay is one of the deadliest and if the Federal Government is as serious about road safety as I am it should join my call on the Queensland Government to fast track and prioritise the four lane Tiaro bypass.

“We need the four lane Tiaro bypass done as soon as possible and then the remaining sections of the Highway between Gympie and Maryborough four laned to transform this dangerous section of the Bruce Highway into the safest. 

“With around 11,000 vehicle movements every day, our section of the national highway between Maryborough and Gympie must be brought up to the same safe standard that it already would be if it was in New South Wales or Victoria.” 


“The 2023-24 Budget includes funding allocations for a range of commitments I secured from the former Coalition Government, including:

•        $1.5 million for a two-bedroom expansion at Katie Rose Cottage Hospice, enabling it to provide more end-of-life care;

•        $1.8 million for Gympie RSL for a new landmark Veterans Memorial at Memorial Park to honour the service and sacrifice of local veterans and defence personnel;

•        $700,000 to improve access to the Maryborough Military and Colonial Museum so more people can view their incredible collection of medals and memorabilia; and

•        $1.3 million to improve road safety around the Noosa Golf Club along the Cooroy-Noosa Road at Tewantin. 

“These projects stand to make a big difference within each of their communities throughout Wide Bay.” 


“It’s been almost a year since the Albanese Government was elected and in its October 2022 Budget Labor axed the former Coalition Government’s Building Better Regions Fund, and with it more than $10 million in applications from Wide Bay, including: 

·         $2,075,500 for the Noosa District Sports Centre redevelopment;

·         $150,000 to upgrade St Vincent de Paul Society’s Noosaville premises;

·         $124,750 to build a shelter at the Cooroy Permaculture Gardens;

·         $7.5 million for a new Gympie waste transfer station;

·         $2,950,779 to provide reticulated sewerage to Southside;

·         $50,000 to build Stage 1 of the Maryborough Military Aviation Museum; and

·         $100,000 to upgrade the Maryborough Rifle and Pistol Club’s rifle range. 

“Councils, community groups, service and sporting clubs have been waiting and waiting for the Government to deliver on its promised regional development programs and in the time since then costs have gone up and up,” Mr O’Brien said. 

“Budget 2023-24 finally delivers the Growing Regions Programs, with grants available from $500,000 up to $15 million. Expressions of interest open on 5 July and close on 1 August and applications open on 1 November and close on 12 December.

“But with the minimum grant threshold set so high at $500,000 many organisations will be ineligible to apply for this funding. Small projects can make a big difference in small communities, and we need to see details of other grant programs as to what assistance might be available to support the smaller local sporting clubs and community service organisations to strengthen their communities,” Mr O’Brien said. 

“It has taken a year for the Labor Government to implement its new Growing Regions Program, and by the time applications are approved and contracts negotiated, regional Australia including communities in Wide Bay will have been without a specific regional development program for two years. 

“I will continue my work with local groups to secure Wide Bay’s fair share of this funding.” 


Mr O’Brien said the Albanese Labor Government 2023-24 Budget population forecast shows net overseas migration increasing by 715,000 over this and next financial year, plus another 260,000 in 2024-25.

Over the next five years net overseas migration will rise by 1.5 million people, placing even more strain on already stretched Government services, household budgets, and adds to inflation. 

“Our hospitals are full, our roads are congested, there is a housing shortage and rental crisis, interest rates are going up, cost of living pressures are going through the roof, yet growing the population adds even more demand to already stressed essential services,” Mr O’Brien said. 

“Increasing the population at a time when there is a housing shortage will only push rents higher and make it so much harder for Australians to put a roof over their head – and the Government is already struggling to meet the needs of our existing population. 

“The Government’s 2023-24 Budget doesn’t detail the massive investment that will be required to service the massive surge in population – and without that massive investment every Australian’s living standards will fall.”


In the spirit of Australia, I acknowledge all citizens who contribute to making our nation the greatest on earth.

I acknowledge our defence force personnel, past, present, and emerging, for their service to our nation, and particularly those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the defence of Australia.

I also acknowledge the Australian taxpayers who, through their hard work, pay for the infrastructure, health, education, and emergency services that keep our proud nation healthy, safe, and prosperous.