May 2018

2018/19 Budget: 'Living within our means'? Means Leaving NQ out, obviously

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8 May 2018: KAP Leader and Federal Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter has commented on the 2018-19 Budget which is full of more ‘looking into’ projects.

Personal Income Tax plan
• Reduce personal income tax
• 94% of Australians will pay no more than 32.5% tax by 2024-25.
• Protects against bracket creep – increases the top threshold of 32.5% from:
o $87,000 to $90,000 from 1 July 2018
o $90,000 to $120,000 from 1 July 2022.
“A promise to do something and the benefit will accrue in 2024 is a fantasy land. And I think that the ALP and LNP have these fantasies which clearly Australians should not, and won’t, believe.”

• New non-refundable tax offset of up to $530 to low and middle income earners ($48,000 to $90,000) for the next four financial years.
“This will benefit of the low income earners – there are a lot of people in that category and this tax offset is a good thing.”

• Reduce the tax brackets from five to four from 1 July 2024. It will remove the 37% bracket.
• One year work test exemption – allows voluntary super contributions one year after retirement.
• Pension loan scheme – open up home equity for all retirees of aged pension age. Full Rate pensioners can support their income by up to $11,799 (singles) and $17,787 (couples) by unlocking equity on their home.
• Aged pensioners can earn up to $300 per week ($50 extra from previous) without affecting their pension payment.
• Self-employed are able to access the work bonus.
• $19.3M new skills and training incentive – for older Australians whose jobs might be at risk.
• $82.5M for older Australians to improve access mental health services
• Establishing an Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner.
• Reducing fees on super.
• $1.6B for additional 14,000 high level home care packages.
“One of the biggest issues in Australia is more money for retirees and other pensions. We would have liked some more, but this is a good start. We pioneered the stay at home care - the HACC program - for Australia grew out of Richmond and Hughenden. And clearly this a continuation of this initiative. The people associated with the Anglican and Catholic churches in those two towns deserve all the credit.”

Enterprise Tax Plan
• Corporate Tax cuts
“I would estimate that almost 70% of the Australian corporations are actually foreign owned. And in the main they have it rigged so they transfer pricing and such devices, very few pay much tax at all. In any event the vast bulk of the benefit will go to foreign corporations.”

Tackling the black economy/multinational tax avoidance
• Increase in enforcement of illegal tobacco, cash wide payment limit of $10,000.
• Strengthen the definition of a multinational
• Relaxing Parental Income Test for access to Youth Allowance for independent students from Jan 1 2019.
• $440M investment to extend the National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education until end of 2019
“I just think the situation for young families is impossible. No one in this country will have kids if they find out the real cost. And the fact that DINKS (Double Income No Kids) which is myself and my wife. We apply the same tax rates to me and my wife, as our children who all have three kids. This country has to have a more fair tax system and income splitting. So a one or two household income is split five ways if that income is carrying a wife and three kids.”

• More than 348,000 young Australians will have access to 15 hours a week of quality early learning in the year before school
• From 1 January 2019 the family income cut-off will increase from $150,000 to $160,000 per annum/ with a further increase of $10,000 for each additional child in the family.
• $1.5B for Northern Australia Package for Queensland, NT and WA over the next 10 years.
• $3.3B priority upgrades on the Bruce Highway (exact location not specified)
• $191.2M for NQ roads – connect communities and regional towns to airports and ports
• $82.6M for bridge renewals program – QLD Wide
• $42.9m for QLD over four years safety heavy vehicle road safety
“I mean $1.5B over three states over 10 years is quite frankly a puzzling nothing, but still we would remain very hopeful it will complete the Charters Towers - Ravenshoe to a full two-lane road and importantly will complete the Hann Highway. We will try desperately to try and get some of that Federal Government money allocated to the appalling failure of successive five State Governments to seal the road to Chillagoe.”

Regional Development

• $200M for a third round of Building Better Regions Fund.
“We want everyone in our electorate to realise this money is there and to go after it professionally and aggressively. I would plead with people that they get the backing of the Council, State MP and Federal MP – whoever they are.”


• National Land Care: $1.17B over seven years to protect iconic places, plants animals and farmgate returns
“Of the $28B being parceled out over 10 years, it looks like we will be getting enough money for six or seven roundabouts.”

• $535.9M for the Great Barrier Reef ($200M water quality, $100M new science, $58M crown of thorns star fish eradication)
“We will desperately try again to get an allocation for a bounty on crown of thorns star fish. We probably want this for tourism as much as for anything else. Man has descended from three million years of hunting and we can have the hunting and also provide a very small, but a contribution to significantly reducing the damage being done.”

• $51.3M for agricultural trade counsellors based in export markets to espouse the benefits of the Trans Pacific Partnership.
“The usual free trade deals have resulted in needing counsellors for farm suicide. It is like living in a lunatic asylum having a PM espousing the TPP, when free market policies has been so absolutely disastrous for farm agriculture. Three quarters of our sheep herd has vanished, and our biggest export item wool is not even in the top 25 exports. Congratulations free marketeers. The dairy industry has still not recovered to its pre-deregulation price levels. The American Free trade deal was worth an ice cream a week to the dairy farmer.”

• $20M National Forestry Industry Plan.
• $52.9M over the next two years for Queensland to improve cattle supply chains.
• $6.3M to improve agricultural access to Ag and veterinary chemicals.
• $226M grant funding and $50m concessional loans to get farmers access to water.
• $11.6m for Mareeba-Dimbulah water supply scheme.
“I hope I am wrong but I don’t think farmers will see much benefit from what is proposed here. And in fact I don’t think much is being proposed here. We need to get much more proactive on the North Johnstone Transfer. We need planning engineering work to start of the upper Mitchell River”

• ACCC continue to investigate electricity prices.

“It is very slimy in Qld that the State Government still owns all the facilities that the much maligned trade union movement did a wonderful job on stopping the sale of the electricity industry. But the state ALP has used it as a milking cow. I can tell you, remember I was the Minister; they are getting over $2,000M a year. The better off people have solar panels on their roof and are paying almost nothing on their electricity. It is the low and middle income earners that are paying $1,500M in what is effectively a tax to the State Government and a small subsidy to the rich for putting solar panels on their roofs. The rich pay nothing and the poor pay triple.”
Biosecurity risks
• $102M for biosecurity.
“Piss-ant nothing. That’s good, but many of us would argue this is closing the gate after the horse has bolted; Panama disease, Blue Tongue, White Spot, Citrus Canker…”

National Security/Border Protection
• $294M to harden up security at airports (including $50M to upgrade security infrastructure at 64 regional airports)
• $62.2m for continuation of Operation Sovereign Borders.
“They deserve every ounce of credit for stopping the boat people; they cost us thousands of thousands of millions. We are a running sore before the Liberals got in.”

• Extending the 'National Schools Chaplaincy’ programme on a permanent basis with a special anti-bullying focus – $20,000 per annum or $24,000 for remote or very remote schools.
“Very good. There is a very definite lack of sense moral belief system. The crime rates are just exploding in Mt Isa, Cairns, Townsville, Ingham. “
• Commonwealth funding for schools in regional grows from $3.9B 2017 to $6.8B in 2027 (an increase of 75%)
“It does not come to grips with the towns that are losing families. The government has shifted eighth grade down to sixth grade. The cruelty of asking people to send their kids at aged 11 to boarding school or have to move out of the small towns, is the most graphic evidence of the innate cruelty and inhumanity of the Qld Government. Much more so when they ignore rural suicide. “
• $11.8M will be invested to expand the local sporting champions program to support youth program to support youth participation in sporting comps
• $28.9M grants program will be established for ‘National Sporting Organisations’ to deliver new programs to promote active living
• $41.7M invested in ‘Sporting Schools Program’, extending its reach to 500 secondary schools, while continuing to provide funding for 5,200 primary schools
• $29.7M to upgrade local community sporting facilities
• $96.1M over four years for regional, rural and remote education
o $28.2M over four years to expand the availability of sub bachelor (including enabling places).
“Many of my friends have five kids, provide tertiary education. My brother had four children, but they live in Brisbane my friends with four children in country towns would be $350,000 worse off by comparison. Because their parents had to pay board and accommodation.”
• Improved youth allowance access for regional rural students

• Commonwealth health funding will reach record $78.8B in 2018/19. Five year hospitals agreement, which is being signed by State and Territories, will deliver $30B in additional funding, a one third increase over the previous five years
“It does not go anywhere near of addressing the collapsing free hospital system, graphically illustrated by the Mareeba situation where 24,000 people have no access to bulk billing and arguably no outpatients after the two year funding we have secured runs out.”
• An extra $1.4B for listings on the PBS including medicines to treat breast cancer.
“We are advised of the difficulties faced by cancer patients to afford the drugs for life saving cancer treatment. Many simply cannot afford to buy drugs due to the high cost. Some drugs are subsidised in many countries around the world but are not offered here on the PBS scheme and for many they are life changing, giving patients more time and quality of life. There are many pressures on the families living with cancer as cancer treatments are not available in most small inland town's means travelling to the city hospitals. Therefore being away from their family support systems, their jobs, their farms, their lives for long periods of time is inevitable. On top of these demands we have to cope with exorbitant extra costs of these important drugs. It is imperative that the Government addresses the current system of supporting those with life threatening illnesses, which affects so many families in the community.”
• Rural and regional areas funded to get more doctors to where they are needed through a new workforce incentive programme
“In conferences with Dr Rod Catton, and in past years Digby Hoyal, Grant Manypenny, Kevin Zischke, the increase in wages to doctors in the Qld Health system, has completely unbalanced the system because bulk billing has not had a commensurate increase. Private Practice GPs particularly in country areas are bleeding off to the public system with a gulf between what a private practice can pay and what Qld health is paying.”
• Increased financial support for RFDS
• $19.1M over three years – management of cross border health between the Torres Strait and PNG plus $3M for cross water mosquitos
• $134.8M public dental services for adults.
“Again when the Government fell in 1990 we have four dentists residing in and serving the mid-west and Gulf towns, now often we have none and at best we have two. Often, only one being resident.
• $3M for suicide prevention
“Sure would be nice if they returned arbitration and a true free floating dollar to our farmers and we wouldn’t need the money for suicide prevention.

• $6.2M investment in the ‘Insulin Pump Program’ to increase availability of insulin pumps to children with Type 1 diabetes
“We understand that many people live with type 1 diabetes throughout their adult lives. We also understand that many recognise CGM technology as the most superior technology available. With secondary alarm capacity, CGM is lifesaving and to deny those outside of the current age bracket an opportunity to access funding for this treatment is unfair.
The response from patients currently undergoing CGM seems very positive and we would consider this to be a huge success on the part of the Minister. This funding success story is a clear indication of the future for adult T1D patients if they had access to the funding as well. This additional funding is important to increasing the quality of life for all Australians, not just those under 21.”
• $2M in 2018/19 for child vaccinations
• Funding continues - $43B from 2018/19 – 2021/22 out of a total $83.2B

• $550M to address remote housing needs in the NT and $1.7B through primary health care model
“As an ex aboriginal housing minister, we built 2000 houses. I’m just appalled that there will be 400 jobs gone in Cairns and the situation will go from the 15 person occupancy rate, with all the resulting domestic violence, poor school attendance and crime, that goes with this overcrowding for the people of the Cape. While I try not to make a personal comment, I drive in from the north of Cairns and there is absolutely nothing. For the Member for Leichhardt not to have raised a single bo-peep when he represents three quarters of Cairns and all of the peninsula and Torres Straits communities. Not even the most elementary representations have been made and we badly needed him in this fight, as we were always going to lose it unless both of us were involved. I am deeply disappointed and very angry. The people of the far north have been badly let down by the Member for Leichhardt.

Banking and Finance (carry over from2017-18 budget)
• Australian Financial Complaints Authority - one-stop shop for financial complaints.
• New Banking Accountability Regime – will require all senior executives to register with APRA. If in breach they can be deregistered and stripped of bonuses.
• Increased fines for banks starting at $50m for small banks and $200m for large banks.
• Permanent team within the ACCC to be established for competition in banking sector.
“We have already got the ombudsmans in plague proportions. To use an expression from my old cattle industry days ‘they are as useful as mammary glands on a bull’. So we are going to be putting out a lot more money to have a lot more of them. “
• Banking Levy - raises $6.2b over 4 years to support budget repair.
“The $6.2B Levy is good, instead of cutting welfare they are going to hit the bank’s obscene profits. With the levy, they have to find money from somewhere - that is how the liberals look at the world, with their obsession with balanced budgets.”


Contact Details

P: (07) 4061 6066
F: (07) 4061 6566
Visit: Cnr Edith and Owen St
Post: PO Box 1638
Innisfail, Qld 4860

Mount Isa
P: (07) 4743 3534
F: (07) 4743 0189
Visit: 42-44 Simpson St
Post: PO Box 2130
Mount Isa, Qld 4825

(when Parliament is sitting)
P: (02) 6277 4978
F: (02) 6277 8558

Local Call within the electorate
P: 1300 301 942

Email: Bob.Katter.MP@aph.gov.au