Photo caption: Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton welcomes the 2021-2022 Federal Budget.
Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton has welcomed the 2021-2022 Federal Budget which he said delivers unprecedented investment as the nation comes back stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Budget, which was handed down by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg this evening, focusses on creating jobs, rebuilding our economy and securing Australia’s future.
“Tonight’s Budget is a win for regional Australia and shows the Federal Coalition Government remains committed to backing our local communities as they navigate the post-pandemic future,” Mr Coulton said.
“Although we are not yet out of the pandemic, the Parkes electorate is managing it very well, with unemployment levels at record lows and plenty of positive activity in the agriculture, mining and construction sectors.
“This Budget is designed to build on that, with tax incentives for individuals and businesses to ensure hardworking families are always better off. People who are working get to keep more money in their pocket, while local businesses will receive further incentives to invest in their business, creating more jobs and boosting economic activity.
“The 2021-2022 Budget is also about understanding this big regional shift we are experiencing and making sure we can service the influx of people who are making a tree change to our communities.
“Even in my own portfolios, as Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government, there are measures such as a $123 million investment in rural health workforce initiatives designed to increase the number of health workers in our rural towns, including higher incentives for rural and regional GPs to bulk bill, helping to keep more doctors in the regions.
“There’s also a further $84.4 million allocated for the successful Regional Connectivity Program to ensure high capacity broadband is accessible to more people, as well as an additional $1 billion for a third round of the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure program, which I see as a vote of confidence in the partnership between the Federal Government and local governments. This will deliver a further $42 million for councils in the Parkes electorate to ensure the continued delivery of priority local road and infrastructure projects.
“In another win for local councils, the Australian Government has brought forward approximately 50 per cent of the 2021–22 Financial Assistance Grant funding. This cash injection of more than $1.3 billion will give councils vital support to assist with the combined impacts of drought, bushfires, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s also fantastic to see a record $250 million is being invested in the popular Building Better Regions Fund, which has already supported projects such as the $6.8 million oval redevelopment in Cobar, and an additional $28.2 million for the extension of the Stronger Communities Programme, which provides grants of between $2,500 and $20,000 across the country to community organisations and local governments for small capital projects that deliver social benefits for local communities.
“A $15.2 billion boost to infrastructure commitments in this year’s Budget includes funding for key freight routes in the Parkes electorate, including $32 million for upgrades to Hargraves Lane and Federation Street, Gilgandra, $32 million for the Newell Highway and Oxley Highway Intersection Upgrade, $20 million for the Newell Highway and Mitchell Highway Intersection Upgrade, $5 million for upgrades to Pilliga Road, and $2.4 million for upgrades to Purlewaugh Road.”
Key investments that will deliver direct benefits in the Parkes electorate include:
- Tax relief for 10 million low and middle income earners, with up to $1,080 for individuals and $2,160 for couples
- $16 billion in tax cuts to small and medium businesses by 2023-2024 and reducing the tax rate for small and medium companies from 30 per cent in 2014-15 to 25 per cent from 1 July 2021
- Extension of the Instant Asset Write-Off until 30 June 2023
- Funding for 170,000 new apprenticeships and traineeships, 5,000 higher education courses and 2,700 places in Indigenous girls academies to help them finish school and get a job
- Extension of the HomeBuilder program, helping another 10,000 first home buyers build a new home with a five per cent deposit, and supporting 10,000 single parents to purchase a home with a two per cent deposit
- A $17.7 billion package to improve the aged care system, including funding for an additional 80,000 Home Care Packages, investment in growing and retaining the aged care workforce and a one-off payment of $1,145 per resident to aged care facilities in non-metro areas
- A further $13.2 billion over four years for the NDIS to ensure it continues to meet the needs of Australians with a disability
- $2.5 billion for mental health and suicide prevention – the largest single mental health and suicide prevention investment in Australia’s history – for a range of initiatives such as the creation of new adult mental health centres and the expansion of Headspace centres
- $2 billion to fund preschools, with reforms to improve participation
- A $1.7 billion child care package to help boost workforce participation and cut the cost of living for around a quarter of a million families
- An additional $1 billion to extend the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program for a third round, delivering more than $42 million in allocations to every local council in the Parkes electorate
- A $353.9 million investment to support women’s health, including funding for cervical and breast cancer, endometriosis and reproductive health
- A record $250 million for a sixth round of the Building Better Regions Fund to deliver shovel-ready infrastructure projects for regional Australia
- $123 million for Rural Health Workforce initiatives to increase the number of health workers in rural areas, including higher incentives for rural and regional GPs to bulk bill, helping to keep more doctors in the regions
- An additional $84.4 million for the Regional Connectivity Program to improve connectivity in regional, rural and remote communities
- A further $22.3 million for the development of business cases for another eight water infrastructure projects to make regional Australia more resilient to drought, including $1 million for the Nyngan to Cobar Pipeline Upgrade
- A $371 million biosecurity package to protect Australia’s agriculture industry from the threat of pests and diseases
- An additional $15 million over two years to support the provision of the Australian Associated Press Newswire services to regional media outlets
- $5.7 million for a new Rebuilding Regional Communities Program to enhance the process of recovery for communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic