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Budget 2006: Bundaberg families big winners in Federal Budget.

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Bundaberg Families Big Winners in Federal Budget Tuesday, 9 May 2006

The Federal Budget has delivered the best ever result for Bundaberg families, with a national boost to family payments and child care places, extra payments to carers, tax cuts and a doubling of Roads to Recovery funding for local Councils this financial year. Local Federal Member Paul Neville said this was an outstanding Budget for local families. “Families are the big winners out of this Budget, with more subsidised child care places - both in family day care and outside school hours care schemes - which means any new service set up by any eligible group will be funded. That’s expected to create an extra 25,000 places by 2009.” “We are also enhancing Family Tax Benefit Part A payments. Currently, families can receive the maximum amount if they earn less than $33,361. From July 1, that threshold will be lifted to $40,000, which means almost half a million Australian families will receive extra assistance.” Mr Neville said more road funding for local Councils also meant safer travelling for families on the roads they most frequently use. “The Government will double its Roads to Recovery payments to local Councils before June 30 so that they can double next year’s level of construction.” “That translates to an extra $375,000 for Bundaberg City Council, an extra $473,000 for Burnett Shire Council and almost $226,000 in extra funding for Kolan Shire Council by the end of next month - all of which will go towards making local roads safer for everyone.” “The hundreds of carers in the Bundaberg region are also in line for extra payments, with an extra $1,000 to be paid this financial year to people eligible for the Carer Payment. This year that payment will also be extended to people who receive either the Wife Pension or the Veterans’ Affairs Partner Service Pension and are carers.” “There will also be an additional $600 payment this financial year to people receiving Carer Allowance, which will be tax-free and won’t affect the carer’s social security entitlements.” Mr Neville was particularly pleased that every local household with a person of Age or Service Pension age will receive an additional one-off payment of $102.80 (equal to the annual amount of the utilities allowance), and that the $102.80 payment would also be provided to self-funded retirees who are eligible for Seniors Concession Allowance. “These bonuses will be paid by 30 June 2006, at a cost of $193 million, and we are extending eligibility for the Utilities Allowance to cover other groups of older Australians such as recipients of Mature Age Allowance, Partner Allowance and Widow

Allowance.” “These recipients will be paid the bonus by 30 June 2006 and receive the Utilities Allowance on the same basis as age pensioners from the 2006-07 financial year onwards.” “Bundaberg families will also enjoy a decrease in marginal tax rates from July 1, with the 47 and 42 cent rates falling to 45 and 40 cents. That gives Australia four marginal tax rates of 15, 30, 40 and 45 cents.” “In addition we are increasing the thresholds so that the 15 cent rate will apply up to $25,000, the 30 cent rate up to $75,000, the 40 cent rate up to $150,000 and the 45 cent rate will apply to income above that.” “That means that more than 80 per cent of taxpayers will have a top marginal tax rate of 30 cents, and only 2 per cent of taxpayers will be affected by the top marginal tax rate on July 1.” Mr Neville said he was also pleased to see the Low Income Tax Offset increase from $235 to $600, and phasing out from $25,000 to $40,000. “We are also making superannuation simpler and better for future generations, and central to that plan is the proposal to exempt Australians aged 60 or over from any tax on their final benefits where these are paid from a taxed superannuation fund from July 1 2007.” “There will be no tax on a lump sum, and there will be no tax on a superannuation pension.” “We will also halve the pension assets test taper rate from $3.00 to $1.50 per fortnight for every $1,000 of assets above the free area with effect from 20 September 2007.” The Recreational Fishing Grants Program will also continue, providing grants up to $100,000 to community groups for a range of purposes, including improvements to artificial reefs to attract fish and infrastructure like tracks and paths to fishing spots. “The really good news overall is that unemployment rate is expected to remain around its current level — a 30 year low - and inflation should remain contained. For the first time, in 2006-07, the Australian economy will grow to $1 trillion.” “The Government has delivered eight budget surpluses in the last nine budgets, and maintaining a surplus is the best thing the Government can do to put downward pressure on interest rates, which is so important to local families,” he said.