BUILDING local infrastructure, connecting local communities and creating local jobs was the focus of 2018-19 Budget which delivers for the Riverina and Central West, The Nationals’ Federal Member for Riverina Michael McCormack says.

“The Liberal and Nationals Government is delivering on our commitment to manage the Budget in a responsible way, while ensuring the services Australians need and deserve,” Mr McCormack said. 

“As a regional MP, I am proud to be part of a Government which is building vital infrastructure and providing essential services for locals in rural and regional Australia, including in the Riverina and Central West.

“From helping younger Australians undertake their studies and move away from home with our $53.9 million injection into Youth Allowance, to helping older Australians stay in their homes longer by delivering an additional 14,000 new high level home care packages – the Government is delivering for all Australians, especially those who live outside the city.”

Mr McCormack said the announcement of $94.5 million in funding for the Murray Darling Medical Schools Network would help address the shortage of medical professionals in rural and regional Australia.  

“Research shows if you train someone locally, they are more likely to stay in those areas and contribute positively to the local community,” Mr McCormack said.

“Rural medical schools based in Wagga Wagga, Orange and Dubbo will allow student doctors to have start-to-finish training in a country centre and will likely lead to many new doctors starting their careers and even practices in regional areas.

“I am proud to be a part of The Nationals’ team which has fought hard for residents living in rural areas and I am pleased the Government has delivered such an important investment in country healthcare.

“The Murray Darling Medical Schools Network will not only be of benefit to the regional centres which have a bricks-and-mortar presence, it will enhance health services in the smaller towns and rural areas which form part of the wider region.”

The Liberal and Nationals Government has also delivered on infrastructure initiatives in the Riverina and Central West with the extensions to community grants programs which invest directly in economic and social infrastructure.

“The 2018-19 Budget includes $3.5 billion to deliver the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative which will upgrade key freight corridors in regional Australia,” Mr McCormack said.

“I will continue to ensure the Riverina and Central West receives our fair share of infrastructure investment.

“The Government is also continuing the successful Building Better Regions Fund and the Stronger Communities Programme to allow communities in the Riverina and Central West to apply for funding to improve local facilities and create local jobs.

“A number of communities across the electorate have been successful in past rounds, including $3.5 million in funding towards replacing the Gundagai Sewage Treatment Plant and $950,000 towards a new health hub in Grenfell, both through the Building Better Regions Fund.

“We are providing another $200 million in the 2018-19 Budget to deliver a third round of the Building Better Regions Fund bringing the total commitment for this program to $641.6 million.

“We have delivered a further $22.5 million in the Budget for a fourth round of the successful Stronger Communities Programme.

“The programme funds small capital projects in each of the 150 Federal Electorates with $150,000 available per electorate for projects which deliver social benefits in local communities.

“To date, the Liberal and Nationals Government has injected $455,717 into projects across the Riverina and Central West through the first three rounds of the programme – including the Cowra Men’s Shed to purchase equipment and to the restoration of the Eurongilly Hall.

“I urge and encourage local organisations and councils to apply for funding when the application rounds open.”

More than 60,000 hard-working taxpayers in the Riverina and Central West will receive responsible tax relief in the upcoming 2018-19 financial year.

“The Liberal and Nationals Government understands your hard-earned money is exactly that – your money,” Mr McCormack said.

“We want to take the pressure off household budgets so families can pay their bills, invest and save for the future – and through this year’s Budget we are delivering.”

Mr McCormack said he also welcomed further support which would help small businesses in regional areas growth and create local jobs.

“Our Budget continues the Government’s commitment to back small business, including the extension of the Instant Asset Write Off which is helping businesses in our local communities invest in new equipment and create new employment opportunities,” Mr McCormack said.

More information on the 2018 Budget can be found by visiting www.budget.gov.au or contacting Mr McCormack’s electorate office.



Health care

 ·         $95.4 million to establish a Murray Darling Medical School network, including  schools in Wagga Wagga (University of NSW), Dubbo (University of Sydney), and Orange (Charles Sturt University/Western Sydney University).

·         Research shows that  training doctors from start to finish in rural/regional areas will attract more people who will choose to make the regions their home

·         A new Junior Doctor Training program, incentives to attract allied health professionals and doctors to regional areas, greater support for the medical training pipeline in the regions, additional funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professional organisations and better monitoring and planning to address future workload needs.

·         The Government is helping older Australians stay in their homes for longer through more high level home care packages. The Government is supporting the 30,551 people aged over 65, and their families, in the Riverina to live longer, happier and healthier lives.

·         $1.4 billion for new lifesaving and life-changing medicines, including Kisqali for breast cancer and Spinraza for Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

·         A new $1.3 billion National Health and Medical Industry Growth Plan will transform and save lives through world-leading medical developments, as well as creating new jobs.

·         $338.1 million in new mental health funding with a focus on suicide prevention, research and older Australians.

·         Fully funding the National Disability Insurance Scheme which, once fully rolled out, will directly help an estimated 3,752 people and their families in the Riverina and Central West.


Education funding

  • The Government is increasing the Youth Allowance parental income cut-off for the regional workforce self-supporting independence criteria from $150,000 to $160,000. The new $160,000 cut-off will be increased by $10,000 for each additional child in the family. The Government is also changing the year for assessing parental income to the year prior to any gap year. Students will know whether their parental income is above or below the cut-off before they make the decision to defer university studies, take a gap year and work, to qualify as independent.
  • $38.1 million for ABSTUDY recipients to ensure secondary students who move away from home to study remain supported. The Government will also make it easier for scholarships to be approved under ABSTUDY.

·         The Government is ensuring 2,428 children in the Riverina and Central West can access 15 hours of quality early learning in the year before they start school with a multimillion dollar preschool funding boost.

·         The Government is delivering real money for our schools to deliver better results for our children. This is delivering on the needs-based funding model recommended by David Gonski. The Government is making sure that our growing school funding delivers a quality school education so that every student in every school in the Riverina is given every opportunity to succeed and thrive.

·         Ensuring students and families can continue to receive pastoral care and other support by providing a further $247 million to continue the National School Chaplaincy Program.

·         Greater assistance for regional students with 685 additional Commonwealth Supported places for students starting study at regional institutions and regional study hubs.


 Tax relief

 ·         The Liberal and Nationals’ Government is providing responsible tax relief – starting in the Budget year for low and middle income earners – to ensure more money stays in workers’ pockets.

·         60,374 taxpayers in the Riverina and Central West stand to benefit from low and middle income tax relief in the upcoming financial year.

·         A shop assistant on $45,000 in the Riverina will have an extra $440 in their pocket from the Budget year onwards, with an extra $3,740 in their pockets over the first seven years of the tax plan.


Better child care

 ·         The Government understands childcare is incredibly important to help working families in the Riverina. The Budget makes child care more affordable and accessible.

·         From 2 July, 5,456 local families in the Riverina and Central West stand to benefit from the Government’s reforms to childcare.


Energy prices

 ·         The National Energy Guarantee will ensure families in the Riverina and Central West can have access to affordable and reliable energy through a $41.5 million investment over five years.

·         The Government is repairing energy markets so they put consumers first.

·         The Liberal and Nationals’ Government has secured agreements from gas companies to guarantee supply, pushing down prices.


Boosting infrastructure

·         The Roads for Strategic Importance: $3.5 billion program upgrading key freight corridors in regional Australia to increase productivity by connecting our major agricultural and resource areas with our cities and ports, and increasing road safety.

·         Another $200 million has been allocated in the 2018-19 Budget to deliver a third round of the Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF). The BBRF invests in projects located in, or benefiting eligible areas, which are outside the major capital cities.

·         A fourth round of the Stronger Communities Programme has been announced, with $22.5 million allocated in the Budget. The programme funds small capital projects in each of the 150 Federal Electorates, with $150,000 available per electorate for projects that deliver social benefits in local communities.

·         The continued rollout of the $9.3 billion Inland Rail Project, the $480 million Bridges Renewal Program and the $744.5 million Black Spot Program.


Backing enterprise and jobs

·         The Government has delivered small and medium business tax relief which will help the 18,328 local businesses in the Riverina – with turnovers up to $50 million if they are incorporated, and up to $5 million if they are unincorporated – to invest, employ and pay their workers more.

·         The popular instant asset write-off for small businesses with turnover of up to $10 million has been extended. Local businesses can benefit from writing off assets costing less than $20,000, with well over a thousand local businesses in the Riverina already taking advantage of the initiative.



·         The Government is delivering a $121 million boost in biosecurity systems to support increased trade and ensure we can protect our clean, green pest and disease status.

·         $20 million for a National Forestry Plan to drive the industry forward and create jobs.

·         $6.6 million to continue the fight against established pests and weeds, building on over $75 million committed in the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.

·         $6.3 million to improve access to Agricultural and Veterinary chemicals including through the minor use grants program, bringing total investment to more than $30 million.


Supporting future sporting champions

·         The Government is backing community sporting clubs with $29.7 million for the sports infrastructure grants program.

·         Community sporting clubs will share in infrastructure grants of up to $500,000 for small to medium scale projects or for improvements to existing or ageing facilities.  This funding will provide an opportunity for community clubs to ensure they are able to meet the increasing demand by ensuring they have appropriate facilities.

·         The Liberals and Nationals in Government are delivering funding for the expansion of the Local Sporting Champions grant program which provides support for elite young athletes to help with costs related to competing at a state and national level.

·         Through this investment, 3,000 additional young athletes – an increase 56 per cent – will receive support to attend events and competitions.


 National security

 ·         The Government will make air travel safer through new sophisticated screening technology for passengers, bags and cargo and a greater AFP presence at airports ($293.6 million over four years)

·         Funding in the 2018 Budget to upgrade Wagga Wagga Airport as part of a $50.1 million commitment to upgrade security screening equipment at regional airports.

·         Expansion of the Safer Communities Fund program which aims to enhance community safety by providing grants for local security infrastructure, such as fixed and mobile closed-circuit television (CCTV), lighting and bollards. An extra $30 million has been committed over 2018-19 and 2019-20 due to significant demand for Round two of the program.


The Black Economy

·         The Government is cracking down on illicit tobacco (known as chop chop), limiting the size of cash payments made to businesses to reduce the risk of money laundering; ensuring the Government only awards contracts to businesses that comply with their tax obligations; and establishing a multi-agency Black Economy Standing Taskforce and a dedicated hotline to report black economy activity.



 ·         The Government is capping administration and investment fees on low-balance superannuation accounts; banning exit fees on all accounts; ensuring that insurance in super is offered on an opt-in basis for accounts of young members below the age of 25; and reuniting lost super with members by transferring all inactive low-balance accounts to the Australian Taxation Office and, where possible, proactively reuniting these accounts with a members’ active account.



 ·         Over the next decade, the Government is investing more than $200 billion to create a more potent and capable Defence Force.

·         This investment ensures that Australia’s defence capability is supported by a strong, sovereign Australian defence industry, which is creating high-tech, high-paying jobs in Australia.


Social Services

·         $227.4 million for pensioners, including self-employed for the first time, who from 1 July 2019 can each earn up to $300 per fortnight from work before it is counted in the income test.

·         $92.6 million for continuity of support for existing clients of the Commonwealth disability support programs who are ineligible for the NDIS.

·         $64.3 million for a jobs and market fund to support the growth of disability service providers and the disability care workforce to meet the needs of the NDIS.


Human Services

·         The Government is making it faster and easier for people to access Centrelink services. The Welfare Payment Infrastructure Transformation has significantly improved the way students can manage their payments online. An additional $316.2 million will extend these benefits to people receiving age, disability and carer payments.

·         The Liberal and Nationals’ Government is committed to improving support services for Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support. An additional $50 million in funding has been announced to improve call wait times.


Shane Manning