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Budget 2007: Benefits for Hunter residents.

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MEDIA RELEASE Senator the Hon Sandy Macdonald Senator for NSW


The Australian Government's 2007-08 Budget will benefit Hunter residents in many areas of their life, NSW Nationals Senator Sandy Macdonald said today.

"This is a budget that will continue to strengthen our economy and keep interest rates down, but will also allow families to plan for the future with confidence," Senator Macdonald said.

"Tonight, we have seen improvements to child care arrangements, further tax cuts, assistance for residents to become more environmentally friendly at home, a boost in transport infrastructure investment and more accessible health care," he said.

Some of the budget highlights include:

• Medicare funding of $378 million to alleviate chronic dental conditions as designated by a GP, and $65 million to train dentists in regional areas,

• $22.3 billion for the Auslink 2 Land Transport Plan and an additional $250 million for the Auslink Strategic Regional Program, to upgrade important linking roads between regions, providing benefits to the economy and tourism,

• A $200.7 million extension to the Community Water Grants program,

• $700 vouchers to assist parents whose children are struggling with literacy and numeracy, to access tuition,

• Child Care benefit rates will be increased by 10%, benefiting 700,000 families Australia-wide, with a reimbursement of 30% of remaining out-of-pocket expenses,

• $8,000 rebates to all Australians to install solar panels at their homes and $12,000 for solar panels in schools and community buildings,

In addition, taxpayers in the Hunter region will also benefit from the fifth consecutive year of personal tax cuts to Australians.

• From 1 July 2007, the 30% tax rate will only apply to incomes over $30,000 (an increase from the current threshold of $25,000)

• From 1 July 2008, the 40% threshold will apply to incomes of more than $80,000 (increased from the current threshold of $75,000)

"This budget highlights the exceptional economic management of the Coalition Government. We have balanced the books and can afford to spend money on the things that need to be done," Senator Macdonald said.

Ends…Tuesday 8 May 2007