McCormack Reports 2015 Budget Edition
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Budget 2015: Delivering for Regional Australia

The 2015 Budget delivers for small business, families and communities right across regional Australia and here in the Riverina.

We are giving Australian small businesses a reason to have the confidence to invest now, to hire now, to back their ingenuity and have a go.  I’ve been out and about in the Riverina and small businesses across the region are telling me that this is a great boost to their confidence.

The reform measures in the $3.5 billion Jobs for Families package will provide greater choice for parents who work hard to juggle the demands of work and family life.  By delivering a simpler, more affordable and more accessible child care system we’re supporting parents who want to work or work more. 

We are continuing to deliver the infrastructure regional Australia needs – not just big, nation building infrastructure but the local, community level infrastructure that is so important. 

We were elected to restore the nation’s finances and this year’s Budget shows the headway we have made in tough economic conditions and with a responsible approach to spending.

Stabilising the nation’s finances and reducing debt is key to building a stronger economy and a prosperous future for all Australians. It is part of the Government’s long-term economic plan to deliver jobs, economic growth and opportunity in a way which is responsible, measured and fair.
The Nationals recognise and understand small businesses are the engine room of our economy and the lifeblood of our regional communities.

The Government’s $5.5 billion Small Business Package includes a sweep of measures which will have a genuine impact and permanent difference to small businesses right around the country.

More than 95 per cent of all Australian businesses are small businesses, employing more than 4.5 million people and accounting for about one third of the country’s economic output. That’s why in this Budget we’ve included major incentives for small business to invest and grow.

The tax cut of 1.5% reducing the current amount of tax paid from 30% to 28.5% now provides the lowest company tax rate since 1967.

Additionally, the $20,000 instant assett write-off will be of enormous benefit to Riverina small businesses enabling them to purchase much-needed equipment with the added ability to depreciate them straight away.

As a former small business owner, I know small business across the Riverina will benefit immensely from the tax cut and other measures in the package – it will be a huge benefit to their bottom line, assist with cash flow and have a positive impact on local economies and communities.
This year’s Budget continues to build on the Government's record $50 billion infrastructure investment – the biggest programme of its kind in Australia’s history.

One year on from the record investment announced in last year’s Budget, there are bulldozers on the ground building major projects across the nation, creating tens of thousands of jobs, eliminating the congestion on our major roads, increasing the capacity of freight routes and improving safety across the board for all road users.

The popular Roads to Recovery Programme established by The Nationals will continue to support the construction and maintenance of local roads in our regional communities with $350 million allocated annually, and a double-funding injection of $700 million for the 2015-16 financial year.  

Each of the 13 Local Government Areas in the Riverina will benefit from a double-funding injection of $16.8 million to assist with local road maintenance.

The Bridges Renewal Programme will provide $300 million over four years from 2015-16 to renewing our nation’s dilapidated bridges. Applications for Round Two of the programme will open in coming months. A total of $60 million will be allocated in 2015-16.

Under the Black Spot Programme designed to improve dangerous intersections by funding safety improvements such as traffic lights and roundabouts, $228,000 is confirmed to upgrade the intersections of Kincaid Street and Beckwith Street and Red Hill Road and Kimberley Drive in Wagga Wagga, as well as Lacmalac Road and Quiltys Lane in Tumut.
Regional Australia will continue to receive vital funding through a number of The Nationals' signature election commitments.

The $1 billion National Stronger Regions Fund was an election commitment The Nationals made prior to the last election to support priority economic and infrastructure areas will begin in 2015-16 with 51 projects recently announced in Round 1. There are still a further 3 rounds of funding to come which provide further opportunities for our region.

The new Stronger Communities Programme is providing $45 million over two years to fund small capital projects in local communities. Each electorate will receive funding to the tune of $150,000 per year over two years, commencing in 2015-16 to support projects that deliver social and economic benefits in Australia’s local communities.

This new programme will allow reputable, not-for-profit organisations to apply for grants to fund the smaller social infrastructure and projects our communities need.
I was really pleased to see the Government's enthusiastic support of Australian farmers in the 2015 Budget.

The Coalition understands the mighty role agriculture plays in the economy and is determined to do everything it can to enhance this sector's future visibility.

The Nationals recognise that regional Australia and the local economies which underpin it have a vital role to play growing Australia’s economic prosperity into the future. There are huge growth possibilities and opportunities for Australian producers and growers in national and international markets.

The trade agreements established over the last year with South Korea, Japan and China and a future agreement with India provide new market opportunities for Australian growers.

We’ve also tightened foreign investment rules, increasing scrutiny and providing greater transparency around foreign investment in agriculture.

A number of measures were announced in the Budget to further assist farmers and regional communities including a 1.5% small business tax cut with a turnover up to $2 million. In addition primary producers and other small businesses can also claim up to $20,000 tax write-off for capital purchases.

From 1 July, 2016 the Government will provide an immediate tax deduction for water facilities and fencing capital costs. Farmers will also be allowed to depreciate over three years capital expenditure on fodder storage assets. This has been most welcome news for the farming community who received little support under the previous Labor Government.

Riverina farmers who produce a vast amount of the nation’s food and fibre can now invest in on-farm infrastructure and with confidence.
Pensioners can have confidence in their retirement plans under the Coalition.

The Age Pension is a critically important safety net for many older Australians. The Age Pension will continue to increase, twice a year, this year and every year at the highest available indexation rate.

The Age Pension is our Budget’s largest item of expenditure and costs $44 billion a year which equates to more than 10 per cent of all government spending. That’s why as our population ages we need to ensure our pension is sustainable and affordable.

So from 2017 changes will be made to benefit pensioners with fewer assets beyond the family home and eligibility will be tightened for those pensioners with a higher level of assets. Pensioners who currently hold a pensioner concession card will continue to receive a concession card which provides benefits such as subsidised utilities and transport, bulk billing and cheaper Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme prescription medicines.

There will also be no new taxes on superannuation under the Coalition Government.
The fundamental role of any government is to ensure the safety and security of its people.

No shortcuts can be taken when it comes to national security. The Treasurer has announced the Government would commit a further $1.2 billion to make Australia safe and secure. This builds on the $1 billion of extra funding committed last year. This is an essential investment for the nation.

With the threat of terrorism continuing to rise and evolve, our response must be swift and uncompromising – we must have the capabilities to combat homegrown threats and to play our part elsewhere. In total, the Government is spending more than $35 billion in 2015-16 on defence, national security and law enforcement.

Overseas we have seen the rise of the terrorist organisation Daesh or ISIL. These terrorists have gained strength during civil war in Syria, seized territory in Syria and Iraq and murdered thousands of innocent people including women and children in cold blood. Their evil knows no bounds

The impact of this terrorist organisation is felt well beyond the Middle East. The number of Australian foreign fighters is increasing, so too the number of extremist supporters and terrorists.

Respond to this challenge now is more difficult than previous conflicts due to the rise of the internet and social media platforms. There is new funding to support our military operations overseas and to strengthen our intelligence capabilities.

The Government will continue to take appropriate and swift action ensure Australians are safe and our borders secure to help combat terrorism at home and far away.

While this edition of McCormack Reports provides a snapshot of some of the programmes and initiatives announced in this year’s Budget I encourage you to find out more by visiting:

I look forward to catching up with you soon out and about in the Riverina.

Michael McCormack MP

Authorised by Michael McCormack MP, Suite 2, 11-15 Fitzmaurice St, Wagga Wagga NSW 2650
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