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Budget 2006: A strong economy delivers tax cuts and infrastructure upgrades for North Coast families.

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Media Contact: Greg Pierce 02 66 52 62 33 0408 532 785 Canberra: 62 77 4447

Luke Hartsuyker MP Federal Member for Cowper


May 9, 2006

A strong economy delivers tax cuts and infrastructure upgrades for North Coast families

Tax cuts for all North Coast residents and a major increase in regional infrastructure funding will ensure all local residents benefit from the 2006/07 Budget, The Nationals Federal Member for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker, said today.

Mr Hartsuyker was speaking after treasurer Peter Costello delivered his 11th Federal Budget which also revealed increases in the family tax benefit threshold, a boost in child care places and a reduction in tax on superannuation benefits.

“The Coalition Government’s commitment to keeping the economy strong will see this Budget deliver a cut in income tax rates, whilst new income tax thresholds will deliver additional benefits for all North Coast taxpayers,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“The tax cuts have been complemented by a substantial increase in road and rail funding. The commitment will see total funding for the Pacific Highway increase to $1.3 billion between 2006/09 which will be complemented by additional road funding for local councils.”

Mr Hartsuyker said the key elements of the 2006/07 Budget commitments which the Nationals have been fighting for. These included:

A cut in tax and a rise in income thresholds

From July 1 2006 the threshold for the 30 per cent income tax rate will increase to $25,000 whilst the 42 per cent marginal tax rate will drop to 40 per cent and the threshold will increase to $70,000. The 47 per cent top income tax rate will drop to 45 per cent and the threshold will increase to $150,000.

“This represents a tax cut for all North Coast taxpayers and with the low income offset being raised to $600, low income earners will not pay tax until they earn more than $10,000.

“These tax cuts and an increase in income thresholds will deliver real benefits for low and middle income earners, with many also benefiting from increases in the Family Tax Benefit,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

Road and Rail infrastructure

A $4.8 billion commitment to road and rail in New South Wales will see funding on the Pacific Highway further increased and funding for the North-South rail corridor increased by a further $270 million.

The Budget provides a total of $1.3 billion to be invested in the Highway over the next three years, with an additional $160 million to be handed to the NSW Government immediately on the basis that it is matched by the State Government.

Media Contact: Greg Pierce 02 66 52 62 33. Mobile 0408 532 785 Email: Canberra: 6277 4447

“Whilst there are funds committed right along the highway, I welcome $143 million in Australian Government funding which will be committed to the Bonville Deviation and Karuah - Bulahdelah upgrade in the year 2006/07.

“It is also excellent to see that the community push to fast track the upgrade on one of the busiest sections of the highway between Sapphire Beach and Woolgoolga has been recognised in this Budget.

“Funds have been committed in the 2006/07 which will see planning on Sapphire to Woolgoolga finalised with a view to the construction commencing in 2007/08. The NSW Roads and Traffic Authority is responsible for finalising the planning.

“Local councils will also benefit from a further road funding boost with council’s 2005/06 Roads to Recovery allocation set to be doubled and funds transferred to local councils prior to the conclusion of this financial year.

“This will give our local governments bodies substantially more funds to invest in road projects that they identify as a priority,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

Family Tax Benefits threshold increases

Mr Hartsuyker said an increase in the Family Tax Benefit threshold will benefit many of the 12,000 families in the Cowper electorate who receive FTB A.

“From July 1 2006, eligibility for the maximum payment of Family Tax Benefit Part A will be extended to families with annual income up to $40 000 per year. The current threshold is $33,361.

“On the North Coast of NSW, where incomes are on average lower than other parts of the country, this represents a huge benefit to local families,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

In addition, the definition of what is considered to be a “large family” will now be those with three children instead of four. These families will benefit from a large family supplement of $248 per year bonus.

Superannuation and assets test

Mr Hartsuyker said major reforms in Superannuation will see tax free superannuation benefits for people aged over 60 who are paid from a taxed fund in 2007.

“The Reasonable Benefits Limit will be abolished and contribution and payment rules will be streamlined to make superannuation more attractive and to encourage older Australians to remain the workplace,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

The pensions assets test taper rate will also be reduced from $3.00 to $1.50 for every $1000 in assets.

Carer payments

Once again the Australian Government will make a one off payment of $1000 to all 950 Carer Payment recipients in the Cowper electorate whilst a $600 one off payment will be made to the 2800 Carer Allowance recipients.