| May 10, 2017

Damian talks about the 2017-18 Budget



Also, pensioners were the big winners in last night's budget, with a reversal of the downgrading of their assets that they are allowed to have outside the family home. Those pensioners that were hit by some changes that were recently made are now going to be able to have their part pension reinstated. This is going to have a huge impact in my electorate of Murray, and I know it will be very well received.              

It is great to see $340 million also allocated to the veterans who have returned from military service and may be struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety or a whole range of other issues brought on by their time in the service. Again, this will assist all of those members. We should also keep in our minds the fact that those servicemen who return from active duty—even though they may not have significant mental issues—still go through a very traumatic stage of readjusting back to civilian life. We need to keep their efforts, their sacrifice and their service to us firmly in our heads.              

It is also very welcoming that we have finally got a government now who has fully funded the NDIS. I do not think there are any Australians who would be in any way against the NDIS, but we have been struggling, from the very first time that it was put forward, to work out just how we are going to pay for this. Now we have a government who, in the out-years, when the real pressure of the NDIS and the costs are going to be borne by the Australian taxpayer, have a plan to fully pay for it.              

In relation to infrastructure, the $8 billion on top of the $1 billion that has already been committed for the inland rail shows that this government is all about building nation-building infrastructure. It is certainly going to be amazing having double-stack containers doing 110 kilometres an hour from Melbourne right through to Brisbane, with a branch off to Sydney port as well. It augurs well for this country. To go with this is a $100 million manufacturing fund, with emphasis placed on both South Australian and Victorian manufacturing industries. Certainly, the manufacturing hub of the Murray will be the huge winners out of that $100 million manufacturing fund.

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