Julian Leeser, MP for Berowra
The recent 2018 Budget offers a strong plan for the people of Berowra. The Coalition Government is building a stronger economy, the evidence of which we see in the creation of more than 1,000 jobs every day – the longest run of jobs creation in Australia’s history.
The Government’s strong fiscal management ensures we can provide tax relief to encourage and reward working Australians. More than 62,500 taxpayers in Berowra are expected to benefit from tax relief in the 2018-19 financial year, a valued contribution to easing the cost of living pressures that we all face in Northern Sydney.
We are also encouraging businesses to invest and create jobs, through the small and middle business tax cuts we have already delivered and the remainder of our business tax cut plan. I know from local businesses that these tax cuts are already having a significant effect on their investment in expanded services and staff. The 2018 Budget also extends the $20,000 instant asset write off for another year, helping small business invest in new equipment.
Many local people have raised with me their concerns about our country’s debt levels. The Coalition Government is committed to responsible budget management to take the budget back to surplus in 2019-20. From 2019-20, our projected surpluses will contribute to lowering the underlying debt each year. The Government is keeping a tight rein on spending taxpayers’ money, with growth in payments restricted to the lowest level of any government in 50 years. We have now reached the point where we are no longer having to borrow to pay for everyday government expenses.
Some specific Budget initiatives that will benefit Berowra include
- $5,000,000 to complete the Federal Government’s $412.3 million funding of NorthConnex
- $1.5 million in Roads to Recovery projects to improve local roads
- Continued funding of the Stronger Communities Program that delivers infrastructure upgrades to local community groups
- Free whooping cough vaccines for every pregnant woman
- Listing of Ribociclib (Kisqali) on the PBS to support women fighting breast cancer
- Listing of Spinraza on the PBS, which treats the devastating illness Spinal Muscular Atrophy
- Funding to assist GPs to learn more about diagnosing and treating endometriosis.
Mental health funding
I am particularly pleased with the Government’s increased funding of $338.1 million in mental health services. Programs being funded include Lifeline’s lifesaving telephone counselling services; beyondblue’s Way Back Support Service which provides outreach, follow-up care and practical support to people discharged from hospital after a suicide attempt, and Sane Australia’s Better Off With You campaign.
I have personally worked with some of these organisations as they have designed their programs and can vouch for the impact they will have. These programs target critical factors in suicide prevention – vulnerabilities that we must overcome to reduce the number of people who die by suicide.
I am particularly pleased with the Government’s focus on providing support to residential aged care as well as to mental health nurses supporting older Australians in the community. Men over 85 have the highest risk of suicide for all ages and we should work with them to combat their isolation and loneliness. The way we value the lives of older people speaks volumes about our values as a society.