Federal Liberal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey says the Budget “brings good news” for his electorate.
His optimism for the region was boosted by the announcement of $110 million towards a solar thermal plant at Port Augusta.
Mr Ramsey welcomed Treasurer Scott Morrison’s second Budget and said the government remained on target to deliver a surplus by 2021.
“There are a announcements which will affect people in Grey and I am happy with more funding for programs that we have done very well in recent times,” he said.
“There is solid investment in roads funding with $6.5 million for upgrades of the Oodnadatta Track and another $10 million under Roads to Recovery funding for councils.
“Councils will be happy our voice has been heard and the Budget re-instates the South Australian-only Supplementary Local Roads Program with an allocation of $40 million in the next two years.
“Even more important, indexation of the Financial Assistance Grants to councils will be restored.
“As regional MPs, Tony Pasin, the Member for Barker, and I have fought hard for these outcomes.
“The announcement of the $472 million Regional Growth Fund including another $200 million for the Building Better Regions program will provide a great many new opportunities for our communities
“Grey has done very well under this program with $25 million funding in the past two rounds. This extra funding will bring real benefits.”
He said $272 million would be spent under the Regional Growth Fund on major projects worth $10 million, enabling rural communities to unlock opportunities.
Farmers will be able to apply for drought loans through a new national Regional Investment Corporation instead of the difficult process they have dealt with before in South Australia with PIRSA managing the process.
"We have all been perplexed as to why farmers interstate have been able to access these loans, but farmers in this state cannot. This will level the playing field,” he said.
“I was happy to see the $20,000 instant tax write-offs for small business with turnovers up to $10 million extended for 12 months.
“This has been an enormously popular measure and is driving local investment."
Mr Ramsey said the inclusion of $110 million to support the establishment of a solar thermal plant in Port Augusta was welcome news, backing the government's commitment to this project during the election.
“Doctors will be very pleased indexation of the Medicare rebate will be restored,” he said.
“I have had a string of letters recently from Meals on Wheels services, an essential service in rural and regional communities, seeking a commitment to an extension of their funding and they will be happy with the government's commitment.
“A billion dollars has been allocated to Landcare and the government is investing in three pumped hydro projects around Australia including a feasibility study into one in Port Augusta.”
Mr Ramsey said in the government had made tough decisions to fully fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme to provide a secure future for people with disabilities.
"Labor left the NDIS ‘baby’ on our desk with no plan to finance it,” he said.
“We have been blocked from getting our savings measures to bridge the gap through the Senate for three years. Responsible governments make responsible decisions as that is what the rise in the Medicare level in two years time is.
“This Budget is a responsible, measured plan for all Australians and will pave the way to surplus.
“I see real opportunities for Grey and am happy with the Treasurer’s making the right choices to ensure our nation’s remarkable economic growth.”