Kerri-Anne Mesner
Kerri-Anne Mesner

More favours for business

WHAT’S in it for me?

Well, it seems there’s a bit of a tax cut and a bit of a safer drive along the Bruce Highway in the future with some funds for some upgrades.

Interestingly enough, there looks to be more favours for businesses with tax cuts and a tax write-off of up to $5000 on the purchase of a new car for small businesses.

Treasurer Wayne Swan, who has been dropping hints for days about what to expect in the Federal Budget, to be announced tonight, has confirmed $285 million in the budget will fund five major upgrades to the Bruce Highway in Queensland.

They include duplicating the highway on Townsville’s south side in the state’s north and realigning the highway north of Gin Gin, but we are still waiting to see funds for roads in Central Queensland.

And what about our workers?

There is a program expected to be announced tonight that will benefit low-income earners.

Instead of having to wait until the end of the financial year to claim the full annual tax exemption granted for the low paid, 70 per cent of the exemption will be paid from July 1 onwards in pay packets.

A person earning $30,000 a year would receive about $5.75 more each week. But I don’t see how $5.75 a week extra is going to help local income earners cover the cost of rising household bills and rent.

There doesn’t, at this point in time, seem to be any funds allocated specifically for infrastructure for the Gladstone region, which is growing fast in population terms with the liquefied natural gas industry coming to town.

Benefits for this region that look to be in the budget include an increase of 60% in skilled migrant intakes which would help fill the hole of the skills shortage, plus $281 million for additional tax-free payments to encourage apprentices in critical trades to complete their qualifications.

Pensioners and superannuants will benefit with 50% tax break on the first $1000 of interest income due to start July 1, 2012, Australian prisoners of war to get a $500 a fortnight benefits boost and pensioners to get a free set-top box under a $308.8 million scheme to help with the digital switchover.

2011 Budget possibilities

- Small businesses to get the first $5000 of a car purchase tax-free, costing $350 million over the forward estimates

- Possible rise in Medicare co-payment

- Tighter control of unemployment benefit, Youth Allowance and the Disability Support Pension.

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