The Regions are front and centre in the Federal Budget once again.

The 2018-19 Budget provides a blueprint for what our Government will be focused on over the next 12 months and I’m pleased to confirm this budget is for small business, for families, for communities, for farmers – for everyone who lives in regional Australia. This Budget will see the Government champion five areas to further strengthen our economy. We are guaranteeing the essential services so many Australians rely on and giving hardworking people more of a chance to get ahead:

  1. Provide tax relief to encourage and reward working Australians, starting with those who need it the most;
  2. Continue backing business to invest and create jobs, including the extension to the popular instant asset write-off for small business;
  3. Guarantee our essential services, such Medicare, hospitals, infrastructure, schools and caring for our older Australians, with almost a billion dollars for the Coffs Harbour bypass;
  4. Secure our borders and keep Australia safe; and
  5. Ensure the Government lives within its means by keeping our spending and taxes under control.

So, what does this mean for our country and coastal communities across the nation? Our new tax plan will benefit hard-working Australians, particularly those middle and low-income earners.

This means more money in your back pocket and ensures a pay rise or extra money earnt working overtime will not be eaten up by higher taxes.

On top of this we’re banning exit fees on superannuation accounts, so people can change funds freely, and opening the Pension Loans Scheme to all older Australians whilst simultaneously expanding the Pension Work Bonus to allow older Australians to earn an extra $1,300 without seeing a reduction in their pension.

Most importantly, we’ll be easing financial pressures on regional families by relaxing the Parental Income Test for students accessing Youth Allowance meaning more country kids can study away from home.

This is something that has come from the grassroots of our Party – originally beginning as a conference motion back in 2012 and seconded more recently by the Young Nationals at their conference.

And this is just the start.

Our small and medium businesses will be happy to know that the Budget is extending the $20,000 instant asset write off and includes an extra $250 million for the Skilling Australians Fund to help owners grow their business and upskill employees.

We’re also backing our farmers with more money set aside to detect biosecurity risks and additional funding allocated to fight against disease, weeds and pests so farmers can get on with the job with feeding and clothing our nation.

Our $75 billion infrastructure plan will continue to roll out across the country. It’s a pipeline of investment over the next decade to further enhance regional connectivity and get people home sooner and safer.

The plan will upgrade rail lines, ease congestion in our cities – helping our farmers get their product from farm gate to port, to market – and finish long-awaited projects such as the Coffs Harbour bypass.

With Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker and Member for Page Kevin Hogan at the announcement of the Coffs Harbour bypass

Under this Government, there will also be more regional jobs and investment with a further $200 million allocated to the Building Better Regions Fund.

Other essential regional services are also getting the support they deserve too. $146 million has been set aside to improve aged care facilities in our regions, allowing people who helped shape our communities, stay in our communities.

More doctors will be going bush – where we need them most – with new workforce incentive programs and the establishment of the long-awaited Murray Darling Medical School network.

I’ve seen so many members of our Party speak passionately at branch meetings and on the floors of Conference, for more doctors and allied health services in the bush. This is a win not only for our regional communities but for you – our members.

Protecting our borders is vital.

As part of the Budget we’re investing $50 million to upgrade security infrastructure across 64 regional airports.

Finally, as part of a National and Liberal Government, we’re making sure we keep our spending under control. Unlike the previous Labor Government, we are focused on returning the Budget to balance over time, helping small business have a go and hire more Australians and creating around 1,100 jobs a day.

Each of these policies – which members such as you help develop – help grow the economy.

I am proud to lead your Nationals’ team as part of a Government which continues to put regional Australia front and centre of our agenda.  


Hon Michael McCormack MP

Leader of The Nationals
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Infrastructure
Member for Riverina