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Ley: Budget win for regional Oz

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May 17, 2018

While this Federal Budget is not full of handouts or bells and whistles, and that is the way it should be, it really does deliver in our part of regional Australia.

The small business $20,000 instant asset write-off has been extended, and there is an extra $224 million over five years in new funding for agriculture.

The personal tax relief announced by the Treasurer also recognises people are working hard, and they want to see the benefits of an improved economy.

Our local councils will be happy to see another $206.5 million for the Building Better Regions Fund, plus $25.9 million for community-based projects, and $83 million to improve local community sport facilities.

Previous rounds of these programs have delivered $50 million into Farrer’s economy and in this Budget, you can add to that another $70 million in Financial Assistance Grants to local government plus $8.5 million in Roads to Recovery funding.

We are also seeing a boost in spending in both rural health and education.

There’s a $550 million Stronger Rural Health Strategy, which will deliver around 3,000 additional doctors, more than 3,000 additional nurses in rural general practice, and hundreds of additional allied health professionals over the next 10 years.

Add to this, an additional 500 Commonwealth supported bachelor places for medical students studying in regional areas. And I also know there’s real optimism on the benefits the new Murray-Darling Medical School Network can bring in improving the number of GPs wanting to start their career in the country.

For families with school leavers, there is $53.9 million to enable more regional students to qualify for Youth Allowance, and 685 additional Commonwealth-supported places to commence study at a regional institution or study hub.

All up, this Budget continues the Coalition’s commitment to foster a stronger regional Australia.

The extensions to our grant programs in particular will invest directly in economic and social infrastructure which really does help create jobs and grow local communities.

■ Sussan Ley is the Member for Farrer.

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