THE Gillard government has pitched a budget with big handouts to low and middle income families but little in big-picture projects for Ballarat.
Treasurer Wayne Swan came good on his party’s commitment to produce a budget surplus but it came at the cost of big cuts to defence and a commitment to reduce company tax rates.
Families will be the big winners, with sweeteners proposed to offset the imminent carbon tax including $1.8 billion toward increasing the Family Tax Benefit A from July 1, 2013 — meaning about half of some 1.5 million families will get a $600 a year boost.
A new allowance, costing $1.1 billion, for the unemployed, students and parents with young children on income support will also start on March 2013 and $2.1 billion will go to a cash-in-hand Schoolkids Bonus.
While the government reaffirmed its commitment to the duplication of the Western Highway and to health services in regional areas, critics said the budget, which promised to deliver economic stability, also delivered little in visionary spending for regional growth.