Federal budget welcomed by some and denigrated by others

The Turnbull Government is sticking to its plan to build a stronger economy to benefit all Australians, Federal Member for Robertson, Ms Lucy Wicks, said in response to the 2018 Federal Budget on May 8.

“We are delivering tax relief with a focus on low and middle income earners, investing in infrastructure and responsibly returning the budget to balance,” Ms Wicks said. “Our tax relief plan will encourage and reward hardworking Australians,” she said. “In the Robertson electorate, 59,823 taxpayers will receive a new offset of up to $530 a year under our plan to reduce cost pressures on household budgets. “There is great news for small businesses, with the $20,000 instant asset write-off continuing for another year, helping small business invest in new equipment. “This is on top of legislated tax cuts for small and medium businesses that are helping them to grow, create more jobs and pay higher wages. “Our plan will back businesses to invest and create more jobs, building on our legislated tax cuts for small and medium enterprise, supporting businesses to compete globally, delivering infrastructure that industry and workers rely on; and targeting incentives to promote research, development and new technology. “The Turnbull Government’s $75b rolling infrastructure plan will continue building the roads, rail and airport networks Australia needs to strengthen the economy, bust congestion in our cities and make rural roads safer. “This builds on the Turnbull Government’s previous infrastructure investment on the Central Coast, including a confirmed $10m to help deliver Gosford’s long-awaited, world-class, Regional Performing Arts Centre, a commitment of $7m towards the new Regional Library in Gosford’s CBD, and the Central Coast Medical School and Medical Research Institute, Somersby Industrial Estate, Banjo’s Skate Park and the Terrigal Trojans Clubhouse.” Ms Wicks also confirmed roads funding through the Roads to Recovery Program and her election commitments, including Oceano St at Copacabana. “We are guaranteeing the essential services Robertson families rely on, by increasing total health and hospital funding by 30 per cent, delivering a 50 per cent average increase per student in fair, real needs based school funding over the decade, and more child care support to those families who need it most,” Mrs Wicks said. “As part of the Turnbull Government’s commitment to guaranteeing essential services, our More Choices for a Longer Life plan will help older Central Coast residents live healthy and connected lives with increased financial and skills support and more home care places. She said it would keep Australians safe by strengthening security at airports and investing more in intelligence and security services so they can respond to new and challenging threats. “We will also protect our unique environment with smarter biosecurity systems and continue to safeguard our borders. “We will ensure the Government lives within its means with a forecast return to modest budget balance in 2019-20, increasing to a projected surplus of $11b in 2020-21; no longer borrowing to pay for essential services; and the lowest average real growth in payments of any Government in the last 50 years. “Our plan for a stronger economy benefits all Australians. “After record jobs growth, the proportion of working age Australians now dependent on welfare has fallen to 15.1 per cent, the lowest level in over 25 years. “We are also continuing to boost welfare compliance and targeting to help get welfare spending under control, while ensuring everyone pays their fair share of tax. “Our plan for a stronger economy means that people on the Central Coast can plan for their future with confidence,” Ms Wicks said. Labor’s Candidate for Robertson, Ms Anne Charlton, said it was a “big business budget” that did nothing to create local jobs or address local infrastructure needs. “Before the budget, I challenged Lucy Wicks and the Turnbull Government to drop the $80b handout to big business and their unfair cuts to pensions, schools and hospitals,” Ms Charlton said. “Sadly, Scott Morrison and Malcolm Turnbull doubled down on their unfair agenda,” she said. “Instead, the budget confirmed a number of unfair cuts including: cutting the energy supplement for pensioners to help with power bills and costing pensioners $14 a fortnight; forcing Australians to work until they are 70 before they are eligible for the pension; cutting $33m from Central Coast schools; cutting $2.2b to universities; more cuts to hospitals; and, more cuts to Medicare by keeping the rebate freeze on specialists for one more year. “Since Ms Wicks’ election in 2013, our unemployment has skyrocketed higher than the state and federal average, our local road network has continued to fall apart, and our local TAFE has seen a 63 per cent drop in enrolment. “This budget does nothing to address any of these problems. “There is no rescue fund for TAFE, no new spends on any local road, and no new money to invest in local jobs. “According to the Government’s own Budget Papers, they have prioritised $26m for upgrades to the Prime Minister’s own department, but they didn’t commit to fix a single local road or invest in local transport. “Clearly this Budget forgot the Central Coast but rewarded the big end of town. “Labor has indicated it will support the Turnbull Government’s move to raise the $87,000 tax threshold to $90,000, and the tax offset for low and middle income earners. “Labor will back the personal income tax measures that begin on July 1 this year, and we’ll have more to say in the future about how else we’ll help working people. “Most of the rest of Mr Turnbull’s tax package begins in 2024. “Mr Turnbull would have to be re-elected twice before he can deliver the changes. “Funding just 14,000 new in-home aged care packages over four years is another sleight-of-hand, with funding being cut from residential aged care to pay for it. “There are still 100,000 people on Turnbull’s waiting list for in-home care. “It is particularly cruel after promising older Australians they would address the crisis in 2016.

Source: Media release, May 8 Charlotte Bowcock, office of Lucy Wicks Media release, May 9 Anne Charlton, Labor candidate for Robertson