CESSNOCK ADVERTISER COLUMN 20 MAY 2015

Tony Abbott’s second Budget lacks any vision or strategic plan for our economy.  It is being sold differently to last year’s Budget but the big cuts to health, education and other services and community groups remain in place.  The cuts to hospitals in particular, will bite in the coming years.  Some changes to GP charges and the PBS also remain.

Government debt remains high, the Budget remains heavily in deficit, economic growth is sluggish and unemployment continues to rise.  Tony Abbott promised a Budget surplus in his first year and every year thereafter, we are still waiting and will be doing so for many years.

Small business will welcome modest tax cuts and immediate write-off provisions but many won’t have the cash to take advantage of the latter and the initiatives certainly won’t provide the economic stimulus the Government is claiming.

There is no new money for infrastructure projects and therefore the Hunter will receive no funding.  There is a one-off allocation $150,000 to each electorate for infrastructure but it’s dwarfed by the cuts to local government grants.

The child care initiatives have merit but are being paid for by cutting family payments and paid parental leave. 

We still have no agriculture policy and the drought assistance is token; the loans are a re-announcement of money the Government hasn’t been able to spend and the tax initiatives will be a small benefit to drought affected farmers in two years’ time.

Tony Abbott says he has learned his lesson but the detail of the Budget tells a different story.

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While in Canberra last week I signed the Fatality Free Friday May 29th pledge.

Fatality Free Friday is run by the Australian Road Safety Foundation, a not for profit organisation established to reduce road trauma across Australia.

The annual economic impact of road accidents is approximately $27 billion. The latest annual road death statistics data shows that there were 1,141 road deaths for March 2014-2015. This is a terrible statistic that needs to be urgently improved.

Over 100,000 people have already taken the pledge and with everyone’s help we can continue to make our roads safer for all.

To take the Fatality Free Friday pledge go to the campaign website at www.fatalityfreefriday.com.au

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NAB has announced a number of relief measures to help support customers and communities affected by the recent storms in New South Wales, including donating up to $300,000 through the NAB Community Relief Fund.

The NAB Community Relief Fund is a recovery grants program that will be available to a range of not-for-profit organisations in affected areas, helping them clean-up and support communities in the aftermath of the storms.

The Community Relief Fund will provide small grants to local community organisations that have:
• Lost infrastructure and/or assets as a result of the severe weather; or
• Are directly servicing the needs of weather impacted communities

A total of $300,000 will be made available for the NSW Storms Community Relief Fund

Eligible organisations would include:
• Food banks; and
• Welfare charities such as The Salvation Army, small grass roots community assistance programs, animal shelters such as the RSPCA and local emergency services.
• Sports clubs may also be eligible if funds allow.
Grants of up to $10,000 are available. Further details are available at www.nab.com.au/nswstorms

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I am always keen to assist with issues or questions relating to Federal Government departments or put you in contact with someone who can, so please ring, write, visit the website or call in.

Why not go the extra step by following me on my Facebook page “Joel Fitzgibbon” or on Twitter and type in the search bar “fitzhunter”. Or by regularly checking my website at www.joelfitzgibbon.com or you can even sign up to my E-Newsletter.

To contact the office, phone 1300 301 753, visit www.joelfitzgibbon.com or by post 3 Edward Street, (PO Box 526) Cessnock, 2325.


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