Last month the Treasurer promised a Budget that would strengthen the economy with a return to surplus in two years, boost jobs and increase essential services whilst putting money back in the pockets of low and middle-income earners.
More than $24 billion has been allocated to infrastructure projects across Australia, but unfortunately the Budget largely ‘skipped’ over the Hunter. The Region will reap the benefits of some initiatives, including:
- Williamtown will share in $55.2 million provided for a clean drinking water program to assist the communities affected by the Department of Defence’s historic use of PFAS containing firefighting foam, however the Government has not committed to buy out owners of the contaminated properties;
- The Region may share in the $3.5 billion Roads of Strategic Importance program to upgrade key regional freight routes over the next 10 years; and
- The Region may continue to share in the Building Better Regions program with $200 million allocated to boost local governments and not-for-profit organisations creating commercial enterprise with an emphasis on regional tourism.
Other noteworthy initiatives include:
- Schools are scheduled to receive an additional $24.5 billion over the next decade;
- Hospitals are scheduled to receive an extra $30 billion from 2020;
- $17.5 million is scheduled for women’s health and infant research;
- Funds promised for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will remain in place;
- The $20,000 small business instant asset tax write-off will be extended for another 12 months;
- New measures to combat company ‘phoenix activity’ will be introduced; and
- Craft breweries will receive a tax cut allowing them to compete with larger breweries.