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Budget surplus benefits rural and regional Victoria

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PIENet - DPIE98/20T - 13 May 1998 Page 1 @£5·

Media Release Judith Troeth DPIE 98/20T

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Primary Industries and Energy

13 May 1998


Senator Judith Troeth, Parliamentary Secretary for Primary Industries and Energy, has commented on the Federal Government's ability to establish and implement sound fiscal management strategies.

"With responsible fiscal management of our economy, through the 1998-99 Budget surplus, the Coalition Government is well placed to enhance the development of rural Australia and thus enable rural Australian industries to be more competitive," she said.

"Victorian farmers will benefit from an injection of $38.4 million in funding for the Murray Darling 2001 Program, in the 1998/99 financial year. The funding for this program, which comes from the Natural Heritage Trust, is designed to accelerate action to address high priority water quality and river health issues."

Also, funding for the National Landcare Program will increase to $92.2 million in 1998-99, from the Trust and other sources, up from $86.7 million in 1997-98.

Farmers with taxable incomes of up to $20,700 from primary production - or around 70 per cent of farmers - will be eligible for this rebate. This announcement upholds one of the Howard Government's election commitments.

Senator Troeth praised the allocation of $272.15 million for road funding in Victoria as another example of Federal Government support for rural and regional Australia.

This will enhance Melbourne's position in becoming a major freight consolidation distribution hub for the bush, and provide more efficient transport mechanisms for rural industries.

Federal health funding, totalling $24 million over four years, will extend the coverage of the existing multi-purpose services model to improve the health and well being of families in rural and regional Australia.

"An additional $13 million for the period 1998-99 to 2001-02 to increase the number of general practitioners in rural and remote areas, and the establishment of Medicare easyclaim centres in chemists, are other budget measures designed to make life easier for people living in rural and regional Australia," Senator Troeth said.

The Government also announced support of jobs growth in regional Australia, with an extra $13 million being allocated for the Government's Regional Assistance Program (RAP), which will bring total funding for this program in 1998-99 up to $33 million.

An increase in the Federal Government's drought Exceptional Circumstances funding in the 1997/98 financial year, from $24.6 million to $90 million, demonstrates the Coalition's commitment to rural and regional Australia.

In Victoria, for example, East Gippsland farmers were granted an estimated $10 million, for Exceptional Circumstances drought assistance.

"Federal Government expenditure of $271,998 million, in rural and regional Victoria last financial year proves that the Government is committed to supporting the rural sector and the budget for this coming year will further consolidate this," Senator Troeth said.

Detailed information on the Primary Industries and Energy component of the 1998/99 Federal Budget is available at this address:

Further inquiries:

Senator Troeth's office Alex Staples (02) 6277 3002 or 0417 449 921

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