The economist in Federal MP Ted O’Brien couldn’t be anything but pleased with the Treasurer’s announcement last night that the nation’s economy will have a budget surplus for the first time in 12 years.
“We’re back in the black with a $7.1 billion surplus! The nation’s finances are restored and it’s been done through good economic management and not higher taxes,” Mr O’Brien said.
The Member for Fairfax also welcomed the budget as one that would continue to benefit the Sunshine Coast with more money for road infrastructure and a focus on families, mature Australians, mental health and small business.
“There are more than 45,000 small and medium businesses on the Sunshine Coast which will get a huge boost from cutting company tax to 25 per cent.
“Likewise those business with a turnover of up to $50 million will benefit from an even higher Instant Asset Write-Off threshold which allows them to immediately write-off any asset purchase up to $30,000.”
Mr O’Brien also welcomed the $525 million skills package and the creation of 80,000 new apprenticeships.
“We know the Coast’s economy is very reliant on the construction industry. In fact more than 12 per cent of local workers, about 16,000 people, work in construction on the Coast so this package is really invaluable for our economy.”
Families were also a focus of the 2019 Federal Budget.
“We’re a family community on the Sunshine Coast but many people are struggling to make ends meet and so I’m delighted there’ll be more tax relief for the 128,000 low and medium income earners living on the Coast,” Mr O’Brien said.
“There’s also funding for around 4000 Sunny Coast kids to attend kindergarten for 15 hours a week in the year before they start school. And more than 12,000 families on the Sunshine Coast are benefiting from the New Child Care Package.
“There’s a $30 million Local School Community fund which I’d encourage all our schools to apply for, and under the $310 billion Quality Schools needs based funding program student funding for all schools will increasing, including the Coast’s 49 public schools. “
Health and aged care initiatives will also benefit Sunshine Coast residents.
“More than 20 percent of the Coast’s population is aged over 65 so a further 10,000 home care packages, on top of the 30,000 extra packages announced over the last 18 months, is certainly welcome news.
“Of course Medicare is guaranteed under the Coalition and bulk billing on the Sunshine Coast is up, with over 1.8 million GP visits bulk billed on the Sunshine Coast last year,” he said.
“Off the back of securing a full Medicare subsidised MRI licence for the Coast’s only not-for-profit hospital, Buderim Private, I was also pleased to see that the budget included new MBS services for MRI on the breast which will cost $32.6 million over four years, to help diagnose around 14,000 breast cancer patients each year.
“The Budget also set aside half a billion dollars for a Royal Commission into the mistreatment of people with disability and on the Coast about 5000 people are eligible for the NDIS. I was also pleased with the $84 million package to allow carers to take a much needed break for themselves while being able to leave loved ones in safe hands.”
Meanwhile the infrastructure spend on the Sunshine Coast has gone up again with another big win for the Bruce Highway.
“Of course we got an additional $91.4million committed to bring our total funding pool to $241million for upgrades to the Bruce Highway Interchanges at Maroochydore Road and Mons Road and that was something I was very keen to secure,” Mr O’Brien said.
“These upgrades are all about families getting home sooner and safer.
“As is the $3.65 million the Coast is receiving from the Liberal and National Government’s Road Safety Package to fix black spots and local roads,” he said.
Fast Rail also featured and it’s something Ted O’Brien has been championing since day one.
“It’s no secret that I am focused on a 45 minute fast rail trip from the Sunshine Coast to Brisbane, and while we’re awaiting the delivery of the business case – which the Federal Government has already committed $6 million to – I was very pleased to hear the Treasurer specifically highlight the Sunshine Coast to Brisbane project while speaking of the LNP Government’s national fast rail vision,” Mr O’Brien said.
For full details of the budget, go to www.budget.gov.au