Budget a boon for the north says MP
FEDERAL Member for Dawson George Christensen has hailed this week’s budget release as a win for north Australia on the back of a $5 billion commitment for a Northern Infrastructure Facility.
“Northern Australia can now step up to the plate to drive economic development and play a vital role in the nation’s path back to recovery,” Mr Christensen said.
This will see the government make it easier for private companies to build major infrastructure.
“The government will partner with the private sector and the governments of Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory to provide large concessional loans for construction of ports, pipelines, electricity and water infrastructure,” Mr Christensen said.
“This will open up the north and help us realise the potential we all know is there.”
The federal member held up the resulting increase in employment as an example of good government policy.
“The flow-on effects in terms of jobs and opportunities will be immense,” he said.
Further bolstering this boost in job opportunities are a number of programs specifically aimed at increasing employment.
“There’s a new $212 million Youth Transition to Work program, an additional $106 million of intensive support trails for job seekers and a national work experience program so that 6000 people can get genuine work experience in the workplace,” Mr Christensen said.
Small business is also being given a shot in the arm, according to Mr Christensen.
Company tax has been cut by 1.5 per cent, while those not operating as a company will receive a 5% tax discount up to $1000 per year.
“Small businesses can go out today and can claim an immediate tax deduction for each and every item they purchase up to $20,000,” Mr Christensen said.
One loser, however, will be the region’s mine workers, with an amendment to the Zone Tax Offset.
The amendment will mean FIFO workers can no longer claim tax benefits for living in specified remote areas.
Whitsunday parents looking to break back into the workforce will be given a helping hand as a result of the budget, with $3.5 billion committed to giving people more childcare options.
Parents shouldn’t hold their breath, however, with the new subsidy scheme still two years away.
“A new Child Care Subsidy will be introduced from July 2017 which will mean families with incomes between $60,000 and $170,000 will be around $30 a week better off,” Mr Christensen said.
Mr Christensen said the program would “provide more options for those who want to get into work, or stay in work”.
And it’s not just local bubs who will be better off according to Mr Christensen.
“Ninety per cent of pensioners will be either better off or have no change to their pensions, and the indexation of pensions will continue to be benchmarked against Male Total Average Weekly Earnings,” he said.
“In addition, I am sure everyone will welcome health measures such as $600 million to increase cancer screening for bowel cancer and cervical cancer, and the inclusion of drug treatments for melanoma and breast cancer on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, which will save some sufferers many thousands of dollars.”