Bud­get a boon for the north says MP

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

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.”

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