Nationals Riverina MP Michael McCormack has hailed the Federal Budget as “a winner for the Riverina and Central West”.
“There is so much in this Budget for the Riverina and Central West,” Mr McCormack said.
“Just some of the many measures in the Budget for the Riverina and Central West include investment in health, defence, infrastructure, social services and easing cost-of-living pressures.
“We are continuing to deliver on our long-term economic plan which is already paying dividends through the unemployment rate at 4 per cent – the equal lowest in 48 years – through more women in the workforce, through more jobs and higher wages being delivered.
“The Liberal and Nationals Government is delivering a temporary and targeted cost of living package, including cutting the fuel excise in half for six months – meaning a 22 cents per litre reduction every time a family fills up its vehicle – as well as one-off financial support payments for Riverina and Central West residents most in need.
“Small businesses will be able to claim a 120 per cent tax break for investing in digital upgrades and for training and upskilling workers.
“Regional communications along major transport routes in the Riverina and Central West will share in a $1.3 billion investment in this Budget.”
From a health perspective:
- Charles Sturt University will receive $14.8 million through its Rural Clinical School to establish training sites and accommodation at Cootamundra and Parkes;
- $99.3 million has been allocated for 80 additional Commonwealth supported places for more rural and regional people to have the opportunity to study medicine at rural campuses;
- $14.3 million is being invested, over four years, to provide more allied health students the opportunity to train in aged care facilities and better support our ageing population;
- $66 million will go towards deregulating and expanding access to Medicare funded magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) services in regional, rural and remote Australia;
- A record 10-year Strategic Agreement, worth nearly $1 billion, has been established between the Federal Government and the Royal Flying Doctor Service to provide long-term certainty to help enable RFDS to provide the best healthcare support for rural and remote patients in the Riverina and Central West;
- Little Wings – a non-profit organisation that provides transport for seriously ill children as well as transporting medical specialists and healthcare to isolated areas – will be provided with five years of operational funding to the tune of $4.1 million to ensure it can continue to maintain and expand its vital services to regional and remote areas. In 2021, Little Wings provided support to families in Forbes, Parkes, Temora, West Wyalong and Wagga Wagga airports and;
- The renewal of funding for the National Rural Health Student Network, at $2.1 million, will ensure the network of 29 rural health student clubs, such as RHPOSITIVE and Charles Sturt University Rural Health Club which support students in Wagga Wagga.
Mr McCormack said the budget will provide greater access to medicines for 2.4 million Australians with fewer scripts needed to access vital medicines.
There will be $1.3 billion in new services to support women, children and vulnerable Australians as well as expanding existing programs to end gender-based violence and protect children.
The Newell Highway is receiving $20 million for upgrades right through the Riverina and Central West from Ardlethan to Peak Hill and beyond as part of the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative.
The Sheahan Bridge, on the Hume Highway at Gundagai is getting a $16 million in funding from the Federal Government for scoping and development to allow for heavy freight vehicles. At the moment, the bridge cannot carry High Productivity Freight Vehicles without a pre-approved permit, which is limiting productivity.
$180.1 million will go towards establishing a Regional Australia Level Crossing Safety Program, which includes $160 million for upgrades to level crossings.
A further $501.7 million has been committed for the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure program, which the 12 Councils of the Riverina and Central West has already received $54,885,081 going towards local projects and supporting local jobs and businesses.
We are growing Australia’s Defence workforce by 30 per cent to more than 100,000, of whom many will be employed in Wagga Wagga’s three Defence bases, and a record $9.9 billion is being invested to bolster our nation’s offensive and defensive cybersecurity capabilities, boosting capacity to prevent and respond to cyber-attacks.
2022 BUDGET – RIVERINA AT A GLANCE
EXTENDING TAX RELIEF
Around 61,700 taxpayers in Riverina will benefit from tax relief of up to $1,500 this year, made up of the $1,080 low and middle income tax offset and a $420 cost of living tax offset.
The Government’s Tax Plan has already benefited 65,200 in Riverina.
HELPING WITH COST OF LIVING
In addition to the one-off cost of living tax offset the Government is also providing a one-off cost of living payment of $250 for Australians most in need.
In Riverina, these payments will be delivered to:
- 20,326 pensioners;
- 6,607 disability support recipients;
- 2,258 carers;
- 8,233 jobseekers; and
- 14,180 eligible self-funded retirees.
Together, with the recent pension increases, this will see the 20,326 pensioners in Riverina receive more than $500 in additional support over the next 6 months, when they need it most.
Since we were elected in 2013, pensions have increased by $179.20 per fortnight for singles and by $270 per fortnight for couples.
REDUCING THE COST OF FUEL
Events abroad are pushing up cost-of-living pressures. That’s why we are taking practical measures now – by cutting fuel excise in half.
Australians will save 22 cents a litre every time they fill up their car for the next six months.
This will help the owners of around 85,000 passenger vehicles in Riverina.
This could mean a saving of $30 a week for a family with two cars, or $700 over the next six months.
The Budget continues to support job seekers and young people. Australia currently has a record high of 220,000 in trade apprenticeships.
We already have 3,765 apprentices in Riverina and new measures in the Budget will lead to more opportunities for apprentices and trainees with expanded wage subsidies.
DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY BOOST
The Government is providing for a new Technology Investment Boost to encourage small businesses to go digital, which will benefit 19,600 businesses in Riverina.
These businesses will have access to a new bonus 20 per cent deduction on digital and technology expenses such as buying computers, online sales platforms, accounting software, cyber security and cloud computing.
SKILLS AND TRAINING BOOST
Small businesses will also have access to a new 20 per cent bonus deduction for training and upskilling employees. Around 4,900 businesses in Riverina will be able to access this bonus deduction. The Boost will support businesses to invest in the training and upskilling of their employees while reducing their tax bill.
SUPPORTING BUSINESS INVESTMENT
The government is continuing tax incentives that will allow around 19,600 businesses in Riverina to write-off the full value of any eligible asset they purchase.
Additionally, around 4,700 businesses in Riverina will be able to use the extended loss carry back measure to support cash flow and confidence. This has already helped businesses invest more in the local economy and to create local jobs and will continue to do so.
The government’s JobKeeper payment supported 5,800 businesses and 22,200 employees in Riverina through the pandemic, to help keep them connected to their place of work, setting the groundwork for the recovery.
The government also supported business in Riverina through the pandemic with the tax-free cash flow boost which helped around 6,200 small and medium businesses providing $230 million in payments.
INVESTING IN INFRASTRUCTURE
The 2022 Budget supports jobs by investing in community infrastructure, major road and rail projects, and road safety upgrades. $5,392,712,761 has been committed in Riverina since coming to Government for projects that will ease congestion, connect communities and improve road safety.
MAKING HOUSING MORE AFFORDABLE
The government’s Home Guarantee Scheme is being extended with 50,000 places available per year. Already the scheme is supporting jobs in the construction sector and assisting home buyers into their first home by allowing them to buy a property with as little as 5 per cent deposit.
This scheme has already helped 11,516 in New South Wales. We are also supporting home buyers and the construction industry through our HomeBuilder program which has supported 25,973 in New South Wales.
GUARANTEED FUNDING FOR HOSPITALS
Funding for public hospitals in New South Wales continues to increase, up 99.44% since we came to Government.
MAKING TELEHEALTH PERMANENT
The government has strengthened Medicare by making telehealth consultations permanent. In Riverina, there have been 400,393 telehealth consultations funded through Medicare since the start of the pandemic.
MORE AFFORDABLE MEDICINES
In the last year the government has funded 2,414,195 free or subsidised medicines in Riverina through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
In this Budget, the government continues to lower the cost of life saving medicines with new PBS listings for breast cancer and cystic fibrosis. We are also reducing the PBS Safety Net thresholds. Around 2.4 million Australians will benefit from earlier access to further subsidised or free PBS medicines.
Since coming to government, we have made nearly 2,900 new or amended medicine listings through the PBS.
SUPPORT FOR THE NDIS
This Budget guarantees record funding for the NDIS, which is supporting over 500,000 participants across Australia and 3,642 in Riverina.
RECORD SCHOOLS FUNDING
Funding for public schools in Riverina continues to increase as a part of the Quality Schools Package, increasing by over 32% to 2029.
MORE AFFORDABLE CHILDCARE
We are increasing funding for preschools in Riverina and making childcare more affordable and accessible. Ongoing childcare funding in this Budget will directly benefit more than 5,660 families living in Riverina.
ENHANCING PAID PARENTAL LEAVE
The Government is increasing flexibility and choice for eligible Australian families by enhancing paid parental leave. Both parents will be able to access and share a single fully flexible 20-week scheme. The Government is also introducing an additional household income test of $350,000 when both parents are working, benefiting women who are the main breadwinner.
The Government supported 1,770 families with parental leave payments last year and these changes will make it easier for families to share work and care.
RECORD INVESTMENT IN AGED CARE
This Budget continues a further record investment in aged care to help the 30,555 senior Australians living in Riverina. This investment will deliver more home care places, more funding for aged care centres and increases in the amount of time that nurses and carers spend with residents.
SUPPORTING CLEAN ENERGY
The Government remains committed to reducing emissions to Net Zero by 2050.
Supported by the Government’s policies, 22,900 rooftop solar panels have been installed in Riverina. Since coming to office, the Government has also supported 7,255 clean energy projects in New South Wales through the Government’s green bank, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.