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May 4, 2016

Small businesses will be encouraged to create more jobs as a result of additional support provided in the 2016 Budget, according to the Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester.

More money will be allocated to fix Gippsland’s roads, and there will be funding for local construction projects that will create jobs and growth.

Large funding allocations for Princes Highway duplication, Roads to Recovery and the Black Spot program have been made in the Budget papers.

Mr Chester said the Federal Budget would provide a balanced plan for the economy and fix holes in the tax system.

Mr Chester, who is also Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, said the Budget included a $345 million rural and regional roads package for Victoria.

“I am determined to get our fair share for regional areas, including additional roads funding,” he said.

“We know that better roads can improve lives, and also save lives. These important road upgrades will improve the safety of Gippsland’s roads.

“Defence bases play a crucial role in regional Australia. The East Sale RAAF Base is undergoing major expansion and tens of millions of dollars will be invested into the base in preparation for the arrival of the basic pilot training program from 2017.”

Key projects to receive funding in 2016-17 in Gippsland include:

• Small business incentives: Gippsland small businesses that earn up to $10 million a year will get a tax cut. The small business tax rate will be reduced to 27 per cent, boosting businesses and farms. Also, the Budget allows immediate tax deductibility on the purchasing of assets under $20,000, and extending the small business turnover threshold from $2 million to $10 million;
• $23.9 million to continue the Princes Highway East duplication between Traralgon and Sale;
• $13 million for Roads to Recovery funding for East Gippsland, Latrobe and Wellington shires to upgrade local roads;
• A multi-million upgrade of RAAF Base East Sale, in preparation for the arrival of the AIR 5428 basic pilot training program;
• $1.3 million in 2016-17 for the Latrobe Valley Training Clinic and Dental Prosthetics Lab, from a total $2.6 million;
• $3.6 million for Port of Sale Cultural Hub in 2016-17, of a total $4.5 million federal contribution;
• $450,000 for completion of Lindenow-Glenaladale Road Bridge replacement;
• $1 million for continuation of heavy vehicle rest areas and truck turnarounds near Bruthen and Mount Drummer;
• Continued funding for the completion of $2.5 million Murrungowar Rest Area Upgrade;
• Continued funding for Stronger Communities Program; Community Development Grants Program, Regional Development Australia Fund; and Financial Assistance Grants for local councils.

Additional Budget measures to benefit Gippslanders will include:

• A new $840 million Youth Employment Package for job seekers under 25, including skills training, a voluntary “internship” between four and 12 weeks, and a new Youth Bonus wage subsidy of between $6,500 and $10,000 for businesses who take on eligible job seekers;
• $102 million to ensure viability of aged care providers in rural and remote areas through the Aged Care Viability Supplement;
• A new $1.7 billion Child and Adult Dental Scheme;
• Landcare funding increased by $22.6 million, plus $15 million towards the National Carp Control Program;
• An additional $1.2 billion school funding from 2017-18, bringing the Coalition’s total investment in school education to $73.6 billion. There will be an additional $118.2 million extra funding for students with disability in schools with the greatest need, including regional and remote schools;
• Tax fairness measures: to ensure multi-nationals pay their fair share of tax, a new task force will be created to enforce compliance;
• An Export and Regional Wine Support Package with $50 million to advance Australian wine and Australian wine tourism; and,
• $7.1 million for Rural Financial Counsellors to help farmers experiencing financial hardship.

Mr Chester said the Budget had to balance encouraging investment while finding savings to pay for new initiatives.

“This Budget is not a shopping list. It is a plan for our nation’s future,” Mr Chester said.

“The Treasurer has outlined our Government’s commitment to fixing holes in the tax system. The Budget repair job is ongoing. But it is also essential the Budget is fair for vulnerable people and those on lower incomes.”

CAPTION: Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Gippsland MP Darren Chester with Budget papers in his Canberra office this morning after Treasurer Scott Morrison handed down the Budget on Tuesday night.