The 2016-17 Budget will help O’Connor’s economy grow by providing job security and tax relief, according to Federal Member Rick Wilson MP.
Mr Wilson hailed the Budget as a responsible plan that reflected the current state of the economy while still introducing measures to boost employment and protect low-income earners.
“We’re putting more money in the pockets of small businesses and low-income earners, and we’re helping people find jobs for the future,” he said.
“The greatest aspect of the Budget is reducing the company tax rate for small businesses, and I’m particularly pleased that 20,611 companies in O’Connor will benefit from this tax cut.
“The most important thing for O’Connor is that we support small businesses, which employ tens of thousands of people in the Goldfields, Wheatbelt, South West and Great Southern.
“By reducing their tax burden, the Government is helping those businesses to stay afloat, and that means they can continue to employ workers and ensure our communities remain vibrant.
“Farms, wineries, tourism operators, junior miners – they’re all going to be better off thanks to these tax cuts.”
In addition to helping small businesses with tax concessions, Mr Wilson said the Government will assist thousands of young people find their way into the workforce.
A new program called PaTH will create a diverse range of measures to simultaneously train unemployed young people, helping them become employable, while rewarding businesses that give those young people a helping hand.
“The first component will see the Government fund training programs for people aged between 15-24 – the training will run for six weeks and help young people develop a range of skills,” Mr Wilson said.
“The second stage will be an internship program for people aged 17-24, where participants will receive an extra $200 a fortnight on top of their income support payments.
“Businesses will receive $1000 up front to recognise the cost of hosting an intern and a further payment once the internship has been completed.
“Finally, the Government is also creating a youth bonus wage subsidy for employers who hire people under the age of 25 in Jobactive or Transition to Work services.
“This is a vitally important reform – as we face economic challenges in the coming years, we’re making sure that young people are getting the help they need to find jobs.”
The Government will also introduce a Low Income Superannuation Tax Offset from 1 July 2017. This means that low income earners are not paying more tax on their superannuation than they are on their take-home pay.
Mr Wilson said 21,345 people in O’Connor who earn $37,000 per year or less will effectively pay no tax on the money they contribute to superannuation.
The move to raise the middle tax bracket threshold from $80,000 to $87,000 will also mean 3200 people in O’Connor will avoid moving to a higher tax rate on July 1.
Mr Wilson said producers in O’Connor would benefit from welcome reforms to the Wine Equalisation Tax, which will also see $50 million invested in promoting Australian wine over the next four years.
“This investment will help Australian businesses take advantage of the free trade agreements signed by the Government,” he said.
The agricultural industry will benefit from $7.1 million over four years to fund additional rural financial counsellors, supporting farmers and rural businesses during drought.
A massive $2 billion will also be made available for loans to state and territory governments to enhance the capital available for water infrastructure projects.
Record funding of $629 million will be provided over four years to Tourism Australia, helping boost Australia’s global profile as a tourist destination – nearly half of all tourism revenue is spent in regional Australia.
The Government will spend $298.2 million tackling the scourge of methamphetamine, and $78.6 million will be directed to indigenous communities over three years from 2016-17.
Over the same time period, $85 million will also be invested in providing greater access to mental health services for Indigenous Australians. $33.8 million will be spent to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at risk of chronic eye disease.
Mr Wilson said all of these new initiatives spelt out a great result for the electorate.
“We owed the Australian people a responsible Budget to reflect the current times and that’s exactly what has been delivered,” he said.
“However, we’ve still managed to create measures that put the people of O’Connor in a good position moving forward, and that’s the most important thing.”