The 2018 Budget: What does it mean for Barker?

The Federal Government released details of its Budget on May 8, and the electorate of Barker will see individuals and industries receive financial assistance.

The office of Tony Pasin, the Member for Barker, have released a statement which outlines some of the key outcomes for the electorate:

Agriculture: $224 million has been earmarked for the growth of agricultural industries, including more jobs, and more exports. $51.3 million will be used to fund a further six positions for Agricultural Trade Counsellors. These Counsellors are integral to strengthening trade relationships and working through barriers. $15 million will also be used on a business engagement package, which will assist Australian exporters compete by negotiating non-tariff barriers on trade.

Taxes: In the upcoming 2018-2019 financial year, almost 60,000 (58,492) taxpayers in Barker are estimated to benefit from the Coalition’s tax relief for low and middle income earners, with tax brackets expected to rise over time.

Employment and Enterprise: It’s not only individual earners getting a break – small to medium businesses will also receive tax cuts. This will help up to 19,201 businesses in Barker invest in more staff.

Business Assets: The instant asset write-off for small businesses will continue for another year, with businesses with a turnover of $10 million being able to write-off assets which cost less than $20,000.

Education: Regional and remote students will find it easier to access Youth Allowance, as the parental income means tested cap for independent students is increased. The 88 schools in Barker with chaplains will receive some of the $247 million being provided to the National School Chaplaincy Program. There will also be 685 additional Commonwealth Supported places for students commencing their education at regional institutions and regional study hubs.

Senior Citizens: 14,000 more new high level home care packages will be delivered, and there will also be 13,500 new aged care places and 775 short term restorative places “to be made available where they are most needed”. As of July 2019, pensioners will also be able to earn up to $300 per fortnight from work (including self-employment) before it’s counted in an income test. This is part of the $227.4 million provided for pensioners in the Budget.

Health: Over the next decade in the region, the ‘Stronger Health Strategy’ will provide hospitals and medical centres with more staff, said staff receiving more training, support, and incentives. As well as hundreds of allied health professionals, the strategy is expected to deliver around 3,000 additional doctors for rural Australia, and more than 3,000 additional nurses in rural general practices.

Roads: There will be $3.5 billion for upgrading ‘key freight corridors’ in regional Australia.

Communities: $30 million will be invested in the Safer Communities Program from 2018-2020, with this program providing communities with grants for CCTV, lighting, bollards, etc. $22.5 million will be given to the Stronger Communities Program from 2018-2019, for community groups to upgrade facilities or purchase resources. The Building Better Regions Fund, for major projects and infrastructure, will receive $200 million for round three. The recipients of the second round of funding will be announced in mid-2018.

“This Budget delivers on the Coalition’s commitment to build a stronger economy, to create more jobs and guarantee the essential services Australians rely on,” Mr Pasin said.

“Last year we saw the strongest year of jobs growth on record, with 415,000 more jobs created nation-wide, three quarters of which were full time. 

“At the same time the Budget deficit is less than half what it was two years ago, and we are on track to bring the budget back to balance with a projected surplus of $11 billion in 2020-21.”

The Federal Budget has been welcomed by the State Government, with Treasurer Rob Lucas stating:

“It is pleasing to see that our productive working relationship with the Federal Government has resulted in South Australia receiving $1.8 billion of new infrastructure funding, which is our population share.

“The Marshall Government will now work with the Federal Government to advance our priority infrastructure projects to improve the lives of south Australians and create jobs.”

The increased funding for agriculture has been positively received by Primary Producers SA.

“The government’s allocation indicates an agenda to tackle non-tariff barriers, which is very important and will help many more agricultural enterprises to share in the benefits of the progress made with trade agreements,” Chair Rob Kerin said.

In addition to these allocations, Mr Kerin considers the increased funding for biosecurity to be a “key win”, and would like an SA region to be chosen in the $18.4 million Regional Employment Trials Program.

Mr Kerin’s main disappointment with the Budget was the absence of funding for mobile blackspots, and “the digital divide” between metro and rural Australia.

“The lack of services is a business, social, educational and safety issue,” Mr Kerin said.

“We welcome the progress made with the NBN, but mobile continues to be a major problem – leaving those without coverage at a severe disadvantage.”

Mr Pasin addressed the lack of funding for mobile blackspots on ABC South East on May 9.

Mr Pasin emphasised that the government wanted to “get it right” with the Mobile Blackspot Program, and that a rolling program provided more certainty than a “one off cash splash”.

The Mobile Blackspot Program is currently under review.

This story The 2018 Budget: What does it mean for Barker? first appeared on Naracoorte Herald.