IF the Coalition is returned to government at the upcoming federal election, Central West residents will benefit from a host of tax cuts, business incentives, infrastructure spending, health and funding support.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told Australia in his inaugural Budget speech on Tuesday night that the country was on track for its first budget surplus in a decade.
With a looming federal election that could be called as early as Sunday, and a forecast surplus of $7.1 billion in 2019-20, he announced measures to suit many people in many walks of life.
Central West families will share in $158 billion in tax cuts, with taxpayers who earn up to $126,000 a year to receive a cut.
This will be worth up to $1080 a year for singles, and up to $2160 for families on a dual income.
"This is money that could go towards your monthly mortgage payment, your quarterly power bill or your yearly car insurance," Mr Frydenberg said.
More than 10 million taxpayers will benefit, with the cuts to be delivered for the 2018-19 financial year.
READ ALSO: Treasurer Josh Frydenberg's speech in full
Fast rail between Sydney and Parkes via Lithgow, Bathurst and Orange
"Central to our plan is a long-term fast-rail vision for Australia," Mr Frydenberg told Australians during his speech.
Funding for this had already been confirmed by Calare MP Andrew Gee last month.
In late March he said the federal government had committed an allocation of $8 million to fund a business case to develop a fast rail link between Sydney and Parkes via Lithgow, Bathurst and Orange.
Farmers and agriculture
Communities have been feeling the impacts of drought for the past year and it has taken a heavy toll on our agricultural towns, the treasurer said on Tuesday night.
"These communities have shown strength and resilience, as all Australians have stood with them," he said.
Mr Frydenberg said the government would provide $6.3 billion in drought support.
It would also:
- Expanding the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund
- Establishing the Future Drought Fund
- Extending Farm Household Allowance
- Establish a new $3.9 billion Emergency Response Fund to ensure additional resourcing is available to support future natural disaster recovery efforts
"Agriculture, like the other primary industries that helped build this country, must be recognised and valued," he said.
"Our economic plan is about driving all industries forward, not just the new ones."
Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University (CSU) and Western Sydney University are set to receive $18m in funding for joint medical research institute.
The Institute will provide the linkage between current health and medical research in regional, rural and remote Australia with the delivery of health and medical higher education programs and the delivery of medical teaching and learning through the Joint Medical Program.
CSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann said the funding was a win for rural and regional Australians and solidifies the importance of access to the same quality of health and medical services that city-based Australians have.
"This funding is a critical step in improving the provision of health services to rural and regional Australians," he said.
The Joint Medical Program will be delivered from CSU's Orange campus and encompass the Bathurst Clinical School of Western Sydney University.
Government department to move to Orange
The Regional Programs Branch of the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities will move from Canberra to Orange.
It is expected this will create 25 jobs and follows the establishment of the Regional Investment Corporation office in Orange which saw 30 jobs created this year.
Better connections between Mudgee, Orange and Bathurst
A bridge across the Macquarie River at Dixons Long Point, along with paving of the road, will occur thanks to $16 million in funding.
The funding will be delivered through the Federal Government's Roads of Strategic Importance initiative.
Federal Member for Calare Andrew Gee said the upgraded crossing would deliver a wide range of benefits to Calare and NSW, not only opening up the entire Central West to tourism, but also better connecting the communities of Mudgee, Orange and Bathurst.
Roads to Recovery
NSW councils share of the national Roads to Recovery funding base will increase by an additional $27.9 million per year to $139.3 million per year between 2020/21 and 2022/23.
Local Government NSW president Linda Scott said while it was a positive step forwards, it would still leave councils with an annual shortfall of approximately $700 million.
"Continued under-investment in local roads acts as a brake on the economy, hindering not only local and regional social and economic development but the development and productivity of the nation as a whole," she said.
Lifeline Central West executive director Alex Ferguson has praised the federal government for its acknowledgement of mental health issues in the safety of the community.
The funding announcements included:
- Establish a new $3.9 billion Emergency Response Fund to ensure additional resourcing is available to support future natural disaster recover efforts
- Investment of $461 million in Australia's most significant youth mental health and suicide prevention strategy
- 30 new headspace centres
- Reduced waiting lists
- More support for Indigenous youth including through mentoring and peer support
- Treatment for early psychosis
- A perinatal mental health program
- Extra counselling services for communities who have suffered from natural disasters
Mr Frydenberg said during his speech that mental health was an issue of deep concern to all Australians.
"It is a national tragedy that we lose so many people to suicide and that so many people live a life of quiet desperation," he said.
"This issue demands our ongoing attention and resources. We must work together to combat youth suicide as a national priority."
Mr Ferguson said it was good to see that mental health and natural catastrophes "are on people's radars".
"It's very encouraging to see Canberra getting their heads around the affect on human beings with these events," he said.
"They're heavily stigmatised issues.
"I think governments generally are trying to create policy sets that address the problem before it becomes a train wreck."
Ensuring safer communities
The largest Commonwealth investment in women's safety was made in this Budget, Mr Frydenberg said with $328 million to fund prevention, response and recovery initiatives.
"There is new funding for the 1800RESPECT helpline, more safe places and training for health and other service providers," he said.
"This Budget also provides for a new round of the Safer Communities Fund, assisting religious organisations, schools and other organisations to install fencing, lighting and security cameras."
Lifeline's Mr Ferguson praised the announcements.
"The 1800RESPECT helpline is at the front of trying to change the culture of men and the way they treat women," he said.
"In domestic violence, there are a lot of versions of it, it's not all just bashing.
"There was clear evidence that the government was into it, they recognise it and they're funding it."