What’s in the budget for the Great Southern?

Toby HusseyAlbany Advertiser
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg speaks during a press conference at the budget lock-up.
Camera IconTreasurer Josh Frydenberg speaks during a press conference at the budget lock-up. Credit: Tracey Nearmy/Getty Images

The Great Southern would benefit from upwards of $150 million of Commonwealth funding over the next four years under the Morrison Government’s 2019-2020 budget.

The Federal budget, released yesterday, included $140 million for the Albany Ring Road project, as well as $4 million for a 40-bed aged care facility in Denmark.

The announcement also included $100 million for regional airports, some of which could benefit terminals in the Great Southern.

On top of this, $160 million has been sidelined to continue the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program, of which Salmon Holes has been identified as a priority site.

Other changes include listing more medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, which provides free life-saving medicines — plus 20,000 new home care packages nationwide.

The Morrison Government has committed $70 million to upgrading Wheatbelt freight routes through the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative.

WA is also set to benefit from the changing of rules around GST revenue distribution.

Nationally, $300 billion has been reserved for upgrades to libraries, classrooms and play equipment, and 1000 scholarships were announced for students to study in regional Australia.

Almost $10 billion has been allocated to emergency relief measures for farmers struggling with drought, flooding or other natural disasters.

More than $450 million has been set aside for improving youth mental health and suicide prevention services. Mental health organisation headspace will receive funding to open 30 new facilities for young people.

Critics have slammed the budget’s sweeping tax cuts as an irresponsible ploy to win votes on the eve of next month’s election.

But O’Connor MP Rick Wilson said the budget, which predicted a treasury surplus for the first time since 2007, would strengthen the economy.

He people requiring aged care services would also have financial assistance red tape slashed.

“I am particularly proud to have fought for and delivered funding for the Albany Ring Road, which will improve road safety in one of the top-10 accident blackspots in the sate,” he said

“This congestion-busting investment will not only keep heavy haulage moving, it will keep our community safer and make it an even better place to live and raise a family.

“(The budget) will ease the cost of living pressures, fund infrastructure to unlock the potential of our regions and guarantee funding for essential services including hospitals, schools, drugs on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (and) disability support.”

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