Budget News for the Northern Rivers


It’s the morning after the night before, which was of course, budget night for the Federal government.

Here’s some of the reaction so far…

The Page MP says last night’s lean Federal budget was to be expected.

The Federal Treasurer says he’s delivered a responsible budget – that delivers big social benefits for schools and the disabled.

Wayne Swan has cut the baby bonus and the Medicare rebate scheme.

Janelle Saffin wants people need to consider the wider benefits announced.

“The benefits in this budget are the Disability Care Australia which benefits my seat of Page, thousands of people who require disability care and also the Gonski, the National School Improvement Plan, both of those funded in this budget and those were the two big items of expenditure,” she said.

But it wasn’t all good news for Ms Saffin who expressed her disquiet on the issue of Newstart funding.

In the seat of Page there’s more than 5,000 people on Newstart and the MP has been lobbying to increase the benefit.

“I’m disappointed that Newstart didn’t get raised, the $50 that we’d all been seeking, so very disappointed about that,” Ms Saffin said.

Tony Davies from the Northern Rivers Social Development Council said that loss will affect the entire region.

“When you put money into income support it has an economic benefit.

If you were to increase Newstart by $50 a week you would actually increase the amount of money being spent in this region by $21 million a year,” Mr Davies said.

There’s been a mixed reaction to the budget from the community and social sector of the north coast.

Disability advocate Donna Graham said disability support is the triumph of the budget.

But she is concerned about the longevity of the scheme if Labor is replaced by a coalition government.

“Legislation to increase the Medicare levy to 2 per cent of taxable income (to fund the scheme) will go before parliament today,” she said.

“The response speech by the opposition treasurer Joe Hockey is where things are going to get interesting, I think the real show will unpack in the next couple of days.”

The Cowper MP said the Federal budget is a budget of deceit.

The Nationals Luke Hartsuyker claims there’s no new money for the Pacific Highway.

“Obviously there’s no new money for the Pacific Highway but the real concern there is that money may be being slashed from the highway and there is no real way of knowing from the figures put forward the status of that, Australia’s most important road project and it isn’t even mentioned in the budget papers,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

The Lyne MP Rob Oakeshott is thrilled with the number of small local projects that won funding in last night’s federal budget.

Mr Oakeshott believes investment in those projects benefit entire communities and despite the pain for some, spending reforms are fair.

“Overall though we are seeing this principle of equity be delivered,” he said.

“In the school based education reform that’s now in place known as Gonski we are finally seeing equity for the first time in the funding formula for all schools in Australia.

Likewise I think there’s some equity delivered through the National Disability Scheme, through the tripling of the tax free threshold.”

Source: ABC News

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