Western Times - - FRONT PAGE - Mar­guerite Cud­dihy Mar­guerite.Cud­dihy@west­ern­starnews.com

FED­ERAL Trea­surer Scott Mor­ri­son de­liv­ered his third Budget to par­lia­ment last week, as­sur­ing Aus­tralians the Government’s fi­nan­cial plan would help ev­ery­day Aus­tralians build “their fu­ture with con­fi­dence”.

The budget fo­cus is on im­prov­ing road and rail, bet­ter ac­cess to health and strength­en­ing agri­cul­tural ex­ports.

But the num­ber one item on re­gional communities’ wish lists – bet­ter telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion ac­cess – has gone unan­swered.

“Trans­port is one of the big­gest costs for pri­mary pro­duc­ers, so we are al­ways keen to see in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment that makes it safer, eas­ier and cheaper to get our goods to mar­ket,” AgForce chief ex­ec­u­tive Michael Guerin said.

“AgForce had been call­ing for a national re­gional in­fra­struc­ture fund so we were pleased to see the Fed­eral Budget in­clude a Roads of Strate­gic Im­por­tance ini­tia­tive with $1.5 bil­lion to upgrade key freight cor­ri­dors in north­ern Australia, as well as a new round of the Build­ing Bet­ter Re­gions Fund.

“We were dis­ap­pointed there was no new com­mit­ment to fur­ther ad­dress mo­bile phone black spots, as the need for bet­ter telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions is one of the big­gest is­sues for peo­ple liv­ing and work­ing in the bush.

“Phone and in­ter­net ser­vices are an eco­nomic and so­cial life­line.”

Mr Guerin said AgForce also wel­comed ex­tra fund­ing for men­tal health support, in­clud­ing for the Royal Fly­ing Doc­tor Ser­vice, but would have liked more as­sis­tance for farm­ers fac­ing their sixth year of drought.

Mem­ber for Mara­noa, David Lit­tleproud hailed the budget as a vic­tory for south­west Queens­land. high­light­ing the support the budget of­fered the agri­cul­ture in­dus­try.

“Mara­noa is vi­tal in this government’s plan to drive eco­nomic growth to se­cure more and bet­ter pay­ing jobs,” Mr Lit­tleproud said.

“The $51.3 mil­lion for six more agri­cul­tural coun­sel­lors to grow our agri­cul­ture trade will help grow farm ex­ports from Mara­noa, which means more money for our farm­ers and in our communities.

“The $121.6 mil­lion ex­tra we’re in­vest­ing in biose­cu­rity will help keep our farm­ers safe from ex­otic pests and dis­eases and pro­tect their pro­duce and their liveli­hoods.”

He said se­nior and child care health were also winners out in the Budget.


BUDGET 2018: Trea­surer Scott Mor­ri­son dis­cusses the im­por­tance of agri­cul­ture to our national econ­omy with Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter and Mem­ber for Mara­noa David Lit­tleproud.

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