Forget “Christmas in July”; with the Federal Budget it’s Christmas in May every year as the Treasurer of the day opens up Santa’s sack and delivers presents for the electoral majority who have been nice.
Traffic-busting in south-east Queensland is one clear winner this year. Three hundred million dollars will flow as the federal contribution to Brisbane Metro, the initiative of the Lord Mayor Graham Quirk to decongest the corridor from Eight Mile Plains to the inner north through 60 new buses in new designated lanes.
On a grander scale, one billion dollars will be spent to expand the Pacific Motorway (at two stretches, between Eight Mile Plains and Daisy Hill and Varsity Lakes and Tugun), $3.3 billion for the Bruce Highway (including $800 million for the Cooroy to Curra Section D project), and another $390 million to duplicate north coast rail line to take more cargo and passengers off the Bruce Highway.
Other Budget initiatives of interest include:
- Tax relief for low and medium income earners, with those earning up to $90,000 receiving the maximum cut worth $530 per year. The Government also intends to flatten the tax rates over the next seven years.
- Upskilling and back-to-work initiatives get a boost with $250 million for apprenticeships and traineeships through the Skilling Australia Fund, $89 million for 40,000 new Transition to Work places for 15 to 21-year olds, and at the other end of the spectrum a $10,000 subsidy for employers to hire a baby boomer.
- The new Australian Financial Complaints Authority will give small businesses access to “free, fast and binding dispute resolution”. Businesses also continue to benefit through a 12-month extension to the $20,000 instant asset tax write-off.
- Measures to crack-down on “phoenix” activity where dishonest operators go bankrupt to avoid liabilities only to resurrect themselves soon after under another guise.