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Budget 2003: Central West Budget announcements.

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Sandy Macdonald National Party Senator for NSW 13 May 2003

Central West Budget Announcements NSW National Party Senator Sandy Macdonald has welcomed a sound Federal Budget despite adversities including a devastating drought and unstable international climate.

“All tax-payers will benefit from income tax cuts which will be worth $2.4 billion. The Federal Government will also be providing an extra $2.1 billion over five years for Defence.

Highlights for the Central West include;

• Charles Sturt University (CSU) is set to benefit from the Government’s ten year $10 billion reform package for higher education.

The Government’s package, Our Universities: Backing Australia’s Future, will provide approximately $1.5 billion in additional funding for universities over the next four years, with $27.9 million in special grants for regional universities.

Charles Sturt University is set to benefit from an increase in scholarships for nursing and teaching study areas.

• The Government will contribute $13 million in 2003-04 to upgrade the Great Western Highway. In September 1998 the Government announced that it would contribute $100 million towards upgrading the Highway and the 2003-04 budget brings the total Federal contribution to $95 million.

Our 2003-04 funding will be committed to the

o realignment of Shell Corner near Katoomba (completion in late 2003);

o replacement and realignment of the Medlow Bath bridge (expected completion in 2003);

o straightening and widening the highway to four lanes at Linden Bends;

o widening the highway to four lanes between Falls Road and West Street at Wentworth Falls. Planning is underway and it is expected that construction will commence in 2003-04.

• Local councils will also receive their full allocation of Roads to Recovery funding for 2003-2004. The Government will continue with the Black Spot program to fix dangerous accident sites, spending $45 million in 2003-04 including $870,000 in the Calare electorate.

• There will be a $189.5 million boost over four years to increase GP training places for rural and regional areas by 150. Medical indemnity costs for rural obstetricians and gynaecologists will be subsidised with $10.3 million over four years.

Media Contact: Rachel Kingsford Smith 6277 3705 / 0427 570 506