The Federal Budget handed down on April 2 by the Morrison Government predicting a surplus in 2019-20, has been labelled “a fragile promise” by Federal Member for Shortland, Pat Conroy.
“It is a fragile promise based on unlikely wages growth, an under-spend in the NDIS, more cuts to pensions and other entitlements, and tricky accounting around the early collection of tobacco excise and early payment of council grants,” he said.
“The real story is a slowing economy: stagnant wages, slow growth, 1.8 million Australians looking for work or more work, very low inflation, slowing retail sales and housing declining.”
Member for Dobell, Emma McBride, said the “best parts” of the Budget were a “copy and paste” from Labor’s policies and the worst parts had let down pensioners and low-income earners.
“Hundreds of people in Dobell have been stranded without NDIS plans and services due to the Liberal National Disability Insurance Agency mandatory staffing cap, and this has not been removed as part of the Budget,” she said.
“In fact, the Liberal’s projected budget surplus has been built through under-spending on the NDIS.
“Promising $525m on vocational training and skills hubs is a pretty underwhelming effort when this Liberal Government has cut $3b from vocational training over the past six years.”
McBride said Labor’s 2019 Budget Reply benefitted the Coast, providing an additional $43.7m in funding for schools and lifting the cap on NDIS staff numbers to “get the support to people with disability when they need it.
“We will take real action on climate change and renewable energy to drive down power costs,” she said.
“Workers earning under $40,000 will also get a tax cut and penalty rates will be restored.”
Conroy said the Liberals had matched Labor’s tax cuts for workers earning $50,000 to $90,000, “but have ignored the nearly three million workers who earn less than that.”
The NSW Business Chamber says the Central Coast should be a key beneficiary of the announcement on skills and jobs.
“There were a number of very positive announcements with respect to skills development in this Budget,” Central Coast Regional Director, Paula Martin,. said.
“So it’s important that the Central Coast, with the third highest youth unemployment rate in the state, should be a focal point for some of these important initiatives.
“Central Coast businesses will certainly benefit from the government’s announcement that more than half a billion dollars would be set aside for 80,000 new apprenticeships nationally.
“The incentive payment for employers will be doubled to $8,000 for taking on an apprentice, while the apprentice will also receive a $2,000 incentive payment.
“This is a great outcome and was something actively sought by the NSW Business Chamber.
“What is less clear is whether the Central Coast is in line for one of the Training Hubs also announced in the Budget.
“The Government stated that it would spend $67.5m to trial 10 national training hubs in regions with high youth unemployment, with an aim of creating better linkages between schools and local industry, and other skills development measures.
“This is to be applauded, but with a big youth unemployment problem, we can’t afford to miss out on that trial.”
Martin said the Government had delivered on an extension to the instant asset write-off scheme for business.
“They also extended the threshold to those businesses with turnover of up to $50m,” she said.
Liberal candidate for Dobell, Jilly Pilon, was invited to comment on the Budget, however, she has not responded.
Media release, Apr 3
NSW Business Chamber Central Coast Region
Media release, Apr 5
Member for Dobell, Emma McBride
Media statement, Apr 11
Member for Shortland, Pat Conroy