A FIRST glance at the Budget for personal gains will leave many people thinking the document “is a problem”, according to Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis.
“But if you take a long-term look it’s going to be great for Australia,” she said.
“It took six years to get into this mess and it’s going to take a while to get out of it.
“Every one of my pre-election commitments was confirmed in writing so I’m pleased about that.
“I’m working very hard to ensure we get one of the first-phase releases for the Work For The Dole program.
“And my four Green Army projects have been reconfirmed.”
Mrs Sudmalis said the freeze on the Federal Assistance Grant Scheme (FAGS) which pays councils for infrastructure was not being removed.
Shoalhaven councillor Andrew Guile raised the issue of the FAGS freeze, saying it was like a cut to local government.
Mrs Sudmalis said it was an important fund that was normally indexed.
“We have frozen it for three years but councils are not losing the fund.
“Everyone has to share the burden and every council will.”
Mrs Sudmalis said she doubted the freeze would lead to ratepayers being called on to cover the loss.
“Shoalhaven City Council already increased rates to cover the cost of the deficit to road repairs left by the previous council of which Andrew Guile was a member,” she said.
Mrs Sudmalis was pleased Gilmore would get $15 million for roads.
Of that, $10 million was for planning work on a new Shoalhaven River crossing and $5 million was for the Gilmore road safety package.
From that $5 million, $2 million will be spent on Turpentine Road and $3 million used for black spot funding projects.
“I’ve got $10 million for the bridge and that will be spent before the next election, it won’t be over five years.
“It is ridiculous to expect money to be allocated for bridge construction when the planning hasn’t been done and the budget requirements don’t exist.”
Mrs Sudmalis praised a new incentive for employers to take on older people.
“Part of this budget is a $10,000 sweetener for people to take on someone over the age of 50.
“I can’t tell you the number of older people who have missed out on job opportunities because people thought they were too old.”