MIXED BAG: Bribie resident David Williams said the 2017 budget is reasonably positive at first glance.
MIXED BAG: Bribie resident David Williams said the 2017 budget is reasonably positive at first glance. Luke Simmonds

Did pensioners win the 2017 Federal Budget?

ELDERLY Australians are being touted as one of the big winners from Tuesday night's 2017 Federal Budget announcement, but residents say that will depend on your perspective.

The pensioner concession card will now be restored after the government was heavily criticised when 90,000 Australians lost access to their part payments at the beginning of the year.

The government is also trying to incentivise over-65s into downsizing their homes by giving them an option to funnel $300,000 of the sale profit into their super fund.

But 69-year-old Banksia Beach resident David Williams said it doesn't quite add up.

"If they sell their house and put $300,000 into their super, they will lose their pension because it will then be deemed as assets," Mr Williams said.

Although Mr Williams, who paid for a benefits scheme pension, said he has no argument against tightening of old-age pensioners.

"We've got to get everyone on equal footing," he said.

"They can own house worth $10million and still receive the old-age pension, because it's not counted as assets.

"Who cares where your assets come from? Whether you saved all your life or if you have a house that's increased in value over the years - I don't see a difference."

Elderly Australians will also receive a one-off $75 power rebate which could be a short-term compensation for rising electricity bills, but those on welfare will now have to complete 10 hours of volunteer work per fortnight.

Bribie Island Neighbourhood Centre manager Cecelia Taylor said it's an unrealistic expectation.

"It's difficult because there's only a limited number of places on Bribie where you can volunteer anyway," she said.

"You'd be asking them to go off the island and that's another expense.

"It's making life harder for no good reason and blaming an individual for what is essentially a social problem."

Under the new budget plans, people on the dole will be subject to random drug testing and will have their payments docked if they test positive.

Ms Taylor supports the homeless and those going through a tough time and said these measures will only perpetuate issues for those struggling to find work.

"If I was unemployed, I would be horrified that they would assume I'm a drug user because I'm out of work," she said.

"It's an invasion of civil rights and it feeds into this thinking that if people are on welfare that it's their own fault.

"There's nothing to say if they're using recreational drugs that that has an impact their ability to attain employment.

"There's been no extra money for addiction problems."

One of the biggest announcements for the entire region was the low-income concessional loan awarded to the University of the Sunshine Coast to build a new campus at the Petrie Paper Mill site.

The loan is in addition to the $35million announced in last year's budget

"Council has always said federal funding support for this project would be vital and it welcomes the commitment of additional financial support from the Federal Government," a council spokeswoman said.

The loan details are yet to be negotiated.

The Bruce Hwy will also receive $546million to provide six lanes from Pine Rivers to the Caloundra exit and a further $120million to upgrade the Deception Bay interchange.


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