Budget 2018: Bright spots but also disappointments
Independent Member for Indi Cathy McGowan says the 2018-19 Budget contains some bright spots for the electorate, but there are also some low points.
Ms McGowan welcomed the Government’s response to the Independent Review into Regional, Rural and Remote Education that provides $28.2 million over four years for an additional 500 sub-bachelor places at regionally based universities. The Government will improve access to the Youth Allowance for regional students with the parental income cut-off increasing from $150,000 to $160,000.
She said a commitment to new rounds of the Building Better Regions Fund and the Stronger Communities Programme would be welcomed by local councils in Indi. The Budget also confirmed the continuation of funding of the Roads to Recovery Program, the National Black Spot Program and the Bridges Renewal Program.
“I am pleased the Government will provide $40 million for capital grants to aged care providers in rural, regional and remote Australia and there will be an additional 14,000 new high level home care packages across Australia over the next four years,” Ms McGowan said.
“However, I believe they have missed the mark with a rural health workforce strategy that fails to provide money to deliver much-needed allied health services in small country towns.
“The Government’s failure to deliver further rounds of the Mobile Black Spot Programme will see up to 200 communities in Indi forced to go without improved mobile reception.
“This Budget doesn’t provide a solution where remaining black spot projects are not commercially viable, yet the responsibility to provide a service to regional and rural communities remains.”
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