Final Budget Outcome shows strong position
The Final Budget Outcome for 2019-20 shows Australia’s budget is in a much stronger position than many other comparable nations, despite the significant health and economic challenges from COVID-19.
COVID-19 has caused severe economic issues the world over, and to help cushion the blow for Australians the Coalition Government has provided an unprecedented level of support to households and businesses.
Through our Government’s strong fiscal management, Australia entered the COVID-19 pandemic in a position of economic and fiscal strength. The decisions we made prior to this pandemic have improved our budget position by more than $250 billion.
The next instalment of our economic plan will help rebuild Australia’s economy and get people back to work in the 2020-21 Budget. I look forward to updating you all on the Federal Budget after it is handed down on 6 October 2020.
The 2019-20 Final Budget Outcome document can be found via www.budget.gov.au
Health measures extended
People in my electorate will benefit from a decision by the Australian Government to invest more than $2 billion to extend its COVID-19 emergency health response for a further six months, to the end of March next year.
This includes access to key health care services including Medicare-subsidised telehealth and pathology services, GP-led respiratory clinics, home medicines delivery, and public and private hospital services.
These measures have played a critical role in detecting and containing the spread of COVID-19, but also ensuring regions have continued access to health care.
Here in the Parkes electorate, we have GP-led respiratory clinics in Dubbo, Broken Hill, Cobar and Moree, with a mobile clinic servicing North West areas including Gunnedah, Narrabri, Boggabri and Wee Waa – providing services for people with all respiratory symptoms, reducing pressure on GPs and hospital emergency departments, and keeping health workers safe.
The take-up of telehealth over the past six months has been extraordinary, with more than 30 million consultations allowing people to access their GP, practise nurse, midwife, or allied and mental health services during this time.
Telehealth has also been extended for essential specialist services, to help people keep in touch with their consultant physician, geriatrician, and neurosurgery services.
$4.5b connectivity investment
The announcement of $4.5 billion in additional investment by NBN Co will further boost connectivity for people living and doing business in regional areas, including in my electorate of Parkes.
This investment includes $3.5 billion that will be used to provide access on demand to super-fast broadband connectivity for people on NBN’s fixed line network.
Almost 50 per cent of the Fibre to the Node (FTTN) premises that will benefit directly from this investment are in regional areas.
The $700 million investment in business fibre zones, which I announced last week, will provide a significant improvement in the affordability and accessibility of enterprise-grade fibre services, with 85 of these zones to be located in regional areas including Dubbo.
Businesses in these zones will have access to super-fast data speeds at metropolitan prices, and this will be particularly attractive for companies that are considering regional centres as a base for their business.
The package also includes $300 million for NBN Co to work with all levels of government on local connectivity priorities, including on projects funded through the Federal Government’s Regional Connectivity Program and Mobile Black Spot Program.