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Roads to Recovery funding doubled in Budget

THE Riverina’s thirteen Local Government Areas are set to benefit from an injection of $16.8 million into the successful Roads to Recovery programme, thanks to a doubling in the allocation announced in tonight’s Federal Budget.

“The Roads to Recovery programme is vital to Riverina Councils, and this year’s Budget will see each Council’s allocation double,” Riverina MP Michael McCormack said.

“Councils are given an annual allocation, which will continue every year up to 2018/19 and can be used to upgrade local roads in a Shire or Local Government Area. The Nationals understand the importance of maintaining local roads and the costs associated with upgrades, so we have prioritised this important programme.”

Mr McCormack also confirmed $228,000 in funding for projects under the Black Spot Programme, including upgrades to the intersections of Kincaid Street and Beckwith Street and Red Hill Road and Kimberley Drive in Wagga Wagga, as well as Lacmalac Road and Quiltys Lane in Tumut.

“Our black spots programme targets dangerous intersections of local roads by funding safety improvements such as traffic signals and roundabouts,” Mr McCormack said.

The Government’s commitment to build a comprehensive inland rail network has also seen a more than $100,000 allocation to the vital transport infrastructure which will benefit the Riverina.

The Riverina will also receive $150,000 per year for two years as part of the Government’s new Stronger Communities Programme, which will allocate grants between $1,000 and $20,000 to deliver social benefits to local communities.

“This new programme will allow reputable, not-for-profit organisations to apply for grants to fund the social infrastructure and projects our communities need,” Mr McCormack said.

Mr McCormack also praised the tax cut of 1.5 per cent for small business and inclusion of the accelerated depreciation of up to $20,000 for businesses with an annual turnover of less than $2 million.

“As a former small business owner, I understand the positive impact this tax cut will have on the region’s many small businesses. It will be a great benefit to their bottom line and help with cash flow,” Mr McCormack said.

The region’s farmers are also set to benefit from an immediate tax deduction for new investment in water facilities and a three year depreciation allowance for spending on fodder storage assets. Importantly, farmers will also be able to fully deduct the cost of new fencing from their annual tax bill.

“Riverina farmers, who produce so much of the nation’s food and fibre, can now invest in on-farm infrastructure with confidence.”

Mr McCormack, who is the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance, also said tonight’s Budget “takes necessary and required steps to continue to repair the Budget with sensible savings and a responsible approach to spending.

“We were elected to restore the nation’s finances and this year’s Budget shows the headway we have made in doing that.”

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