Bendigo politicians talk budget

BENDIGO residents can expect “big differences” thanks to the federal budget, according to Labor candidate for Bendigo Lisa Chesters. 

Ms Chesters said the 2013-14 budget announced last night protected regional jobs and supported early education. 

She said the federal government was “brave and bold” and did what it needed to do to ensure fairness for everyone.

“There has been some big announcements  that will impact Bendigo residents, including $3 million for early years quality funds,” she said. “With so many early learning centres in the region, this will give parents security and consistency to ensure qualified staff without increasing the fees.” 

Bendigo Labor MP Steve Gibbons said the “typical Labor budget” would support people less well off in the Bendigo region. 

Mr Gibbons  brushed aside the Coalition’s criticisms of the near $100 billion in expenditure on education and disability insurance which locks in funding for a decade, saying “so it should be (locked in)”. 

“These are important reforms. There are no surprises for me – the federal government has been under criticism but tonight’s budget will hopefully bury those myths,” he said. 

Mr Gibbons said if Bendigo families had a disabled child or children going to school, they would fare “very well” because of the family payment benefits and school kids bonus. 

But Liberal candidate for Bendigo Greg Bickley told the Bendigo Advertiser that families in central Victoria and the Macedon Ranges would be worse off because of this  year’s budget. 

He said the 2013-14 federal budget was set to disappoint middle-income families, who would lose some family entitlements and the promised carbon tax compensation. 

“Wayne Swan said this budget was about ‘jobs and growth’ but the budget actually forecasts an increase in unemployment, up to 5.75 per cent and lower growth, down to 2.75 per cent. 

“This budget means less jobs and slower growth.”

When asked how the Coalition government would ensure a budget surplus, he said, “Tony Abbott’s budget reply (will) provide more details of the Coalition’s real solutions plan that will build a strong, prosperous economy and a safe, secure Australia.”

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