Budget Fails to Deliver for Bendigo

Last night’s Federal Budget is more of the same from the Liberal Government, but times are not normal.

Bendigo is not mentioned once in the Budget papers. 

Once again, we have missed out on our fair share of funding for local projects and many of us have been left behind.

The Budget is disappointing. Once again, it confirms that this government has no plan for Central Victoria.

Local Investment:

The Budget failed fund key local infrastructure projects including the Bendigo Airport Terminal expansion, Bendigo Showgrounds redevelopment and sports infrastructure maintenance.

Projects in the Bendigo electorate are needed now, not years down the line.

Investment in local infrastructure would have been a boost for local jobs, small businesses, tourism and the economy.

JobSeeker/JobKeeper:

The Government failed to announce restoring the cuts JobSeeker and JobKeeper payments despite ongoing restrictions in many areas, including Bendigo.

They’re cutting away crucial support at a time when people need it the most.

Life and work is not back to normal for Central Victorians. Many people are still out of work.

Extending these payments at the higher rate would have helped ensure no one is left behind.

Tax Cuts:

Tax cuts are good for workers if you still have a job and are earning your normal wage.  

The average worker will likely receive a tax cut of less than $50 a fortnight under the government's budget tax cuts announcement.  

Many locals are still coming to terms with a $300 fortnightly cut to JobKeeper payments. Many are not earning their normal wage.

The question around last night’s income tax cuts announcement is timing and whether the locals who receive a tax cut will spend or save the money.

On the Pension: 

Pensioners will be disappointed. Two, one-off payments of $250 may help pay an electricity bill but it’s not a much needed permanent raise in the pension rate. 

On Apprentices and Traineeships:

The Government’s announcement to support 100,000 apprentices and traineeships falls short of the figure we’ve lost since in the tradie crisis under the Liberals. 

Nationally, we are down 140,198 apprentices and trainees in training and 790 in Bendigo since the last Labor Government. The number of people starting apprenticeships and traineeships this year is down by 22 per cent.

Whilst a wage subsidy is welcome, 12 months is not enough. It will create problems. Apprenticeships take 3 to 4 years to complete. 

This measure may only create short term low skilled traineeships with fast food outlets and big retail. This policy will not address the local skills shortage we have. 

On Aged Care and Home Care packages:

Disappointingly, there was no new funding to increase staffing levels in aged care facilities.

The Aged Care Royal Commission’s interim report describes a situation of utter neglect yet, the Morrison Government has done nothing to fix it. 

These are our parents and grandparents. We have an obligation to care for them and to keep them safe.

I’m also very concerned for residents still waiting for Home Care Packages. Nationwide, 100,000 people, including almost 1000 in Loddon-Mallee region, are waiting for a Home Care Package at their approved level.  

Last night’s budget only funded an extra 23,000 places meaning 77,000, including some in our region, will miss out.  

More than 30,000 older Australians have died in aged care facilities while waiting for In-Home Care Packages over the last three years.

Not investing in aged care and home care, given what’s been happening in the sector, demonstrates just how focused Scott Morrison is on politics and not on people. 

Scott Morrison’s Budget is big spending but still doesn’t do enough to create jobs, fails to build for the future and leaves too many Central Victorians behind.