The 2020 Federal Budget sets out a clear plan for the economic recovery of Australia – confidently driven by a positive outlook for rural Australia – in the wake of a year that has so far delivered drought, floods, fires and a global pandemic, the Federal Member for Mallee, Anne Webster, said last night.
“COVID-19 initially presented us with the most severe global crisis since the Great Depression, tipping the nation into a recession for the first time in 30 years. However, more than half of all Australian workers who have lost jobs since the start of this year are already back at work,” Dr Webster said.
“Our Australian way of life has been put on hold, due to this pandemic, but the economy is now fighting back because we are a proud and resilient people.
“We went into this crisis from a position of strength, a strength which enabled the Coalition Government to commit an unprecedented $507 billion (25.6 per cent of GDP) in overall economic support.”
That strength, Dr Webster said, was due to the Coalition Government having both brought the budget back into balance for the first time in 11 years and maintaining a AAA credit rating before COVID-19 took hold.
“The government is therefore now acting to recapture that momentum, to get as many people back to work and viable enterprises back to business – as soon as possible – under a sophisticated $98 billion mix of tax cuts and stimuli. It is a monumental task, but one that gives hope to us as a nation.”
Dr Webster said she is pleased to welcome the following initiatives which will benefit Mallee:
- The $4 billion JobMaker Hiring Credit, which is payable for up to 12 months for each new job and is available right now to employers who hire eligible employees aged 16-35. The Hiring Credit will be $200 per week for those aged between 16-29, and $100 per week for those aged between 30-35
- The $1.2 billion Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements wage subsidy, a new 50 per cent wage subsidy for all businesses that take on new apprentices from now to 30 September 2021
- Tax relief for more than 7 million Australians, who will receive $2,000 or more this year. Low and middle income tax payers will receive relief of up to $2,745 for singles and $5,490 for dual income families
- Instant asset write-off’s for 99 percent of businesses for the full value of assets purchased. Businesses will now also be able to offset losses incurred to June 2022 against prior profits made in or after the 2018-19 financial year
- $1.3 billion to provide two additional Economic Support Payments of $250 each to Age Pensioners, veterans, and other recipients
- $2 billion for the Road Safety Program, for shovel ready projects to improve our roads
- A further $17 million for Councils in Mallee for Local Roads and Community Infrastructure, on top of the $19 million announced in June 2020
- A further $2 billion in funding for projects through the National Water Infrastructure Fund, which more than doubles the fund to a total of $3.5 billion
- $200 million for round 5 of the Building Better Regions Fund
- $22.7 million for round 6 of the Stronger Communities Program
- A further $30.3 million for the Regional Connectivity Program, on top of the $52.6 million announced in last year’s budget. Meaning better digital connection across the regions
- $18.6 million for Border Oncology Research Unit’s ReVITALISE project, which will add the Mildura Base Hospital as a new site to the Regional Trials Network in Victoria
- $5.7 billion in mental health funding, including $100.8 million to double support under Better Access from 10 to 20 Medicare-funded psychological services, ensuring people get the care they need
- $133.6 billion over five years to fund public hospitals, an increase of $33.6 billion on the previous agreement with the States and Territories
- $1.6 billion to provide 23,000 more home care packages in response to the clear preference of many senior Australians to receive aged care in their own home
- $2 billion in concessional loans to help farmers overcome the devastating drought
- $328.4 million toward Busting Congestion for Agricultural Exporters
- Doubling of the On-farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme to $100 million, to support drought-affected livestock producers and horticulturalists with permanent plantings
- $1.3 billion for the Modern Manufacturing Strategy to encourage more private investment and capabilities of local manufacturers
- $107.2 million to help identify and address critical supply chain vulnerabilities for key products.
- $52.8 million Manufacturing Modernisation Fund Round Two
- $10.3 billion for Childcare
- A near record $21.5 billion for schools and an additional $146.3 million to deliver projects to help support students, families, and school communities impacted by COVID-19
- $249.6 million investment to drive a billion-dollar transformation of Australia’s waste and recycling capacity
- $1.9 billion for future energy technologies, through the new Technology Investment Roadmap
- Up to $250 million to accelerate major transmission projects, including VNI West, which will benefit Mallee, in order to deliver reliable energy
- An additional 10,000 places under the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme
- $1 billion of low cost finance to support the construction of affordable housing
- $150 million in the Indigenous Home Ownership Program to construct new homes in regional areas
Anne Webster said that while GDP was forecast to fall by 3.75 per cent this calendar year, it was expected to grow by 4.25 per cent next year.
“If the Morrison/McCormack Government had not acted swiftly and decisively when the pandemic took hold, unemployment would have exceeded 12 per cent by now and stayed there for the next two years. Instead, we will likely see that driven down to 6.5 per cent by mid-2022,” Dr Webster said.
“The government will now move to grow the economy, create jobs and guarantee essential services, without increasing taxes. In doing so, it will be guided by values – of personal responsibility and reward for effort – while still providing a helping hand to those who need one. Nobody will be left behind.
“We have a duty, as Mr Frydenberg said, to the next generation to restore the strength of our economy so that their lives can be filled with the same opportunities and possibilities that we have enjoyed.”