Burden or Blessing? Mixed Reaction to Federal Budget

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The region’s peak welfare group says some of the more onerous features of the previous federal budget have now been abolished.

Tony Davies, from the Northern Rivers Social Development Council, said scrapping the plan to make young people wait six months for the dole is a great move.
But he said a four-week wait for the Newstart Allowance could still cause problems.

“Obviously there needs to be some capability for homeless young people, people that are at risk, to actually get Newstart immediately,” Mr Davies said.

“Our organisation does a lot of work with homeless people, particularly young people, and that’s a key thing for getting people back on track.”

But Labor’s member for Richmond, Justine Elliot, said the budget was not fair.

She said many of the unpopular measures proposed last year remain in place.

“The $80-billion cut from hospitals and schools is still there,” Ms Elliot said.

“The $100,000 university degrees are still there, and the cuts to family payments are still there.

“So for people on the north coast this horror budget still remains, because all of those cuts are still in place.”

But the Nationals’ Page MP Kevin Hogan said there was plenty of good news for north coast families.

“Any family who uses childcare, there’s an extra $3.5 billion being given to families to help them pay those costs,” he said.

“So that’s certainly going to make a big difference.

“But certainly I think the big news was the tax cut for small business.”

A $5.5 billion package includes a 1.5% tax cut for small firms with an annual turnover up to $2 million.

All small businesses will get an immediate deduction for any asset they buy between now and mid-2017 worth less than $20,000.

“The sector in the economy that employs the most people, and that’s true for our region, is small business,” Mr Hogan said.

“There are over 10,000 of them in our community and they employ not only themselves but other people.

“This is helping them… we want them to grow, we want them to employ more people, so this will do that.”

But Ms Elliot said parts of the small-business package were recycled ALP policy.

“Remember the measures they’ve announced, are exactly the measures that Labor had,” she said.

“Tony Abbott abolished our small-business plan and now he’s brought it back.

“We had the same similar scheme in terms of that instant asset write off.

“They’ve copied our plan, which they’d previously abolished.”

Source: ABC News

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