NSW Budget benefit for Walcha Shire

Sonia O'Keefe

Sonia O'Keefe

 On Tuesday NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet announced his budget for 2017-18. With a big budget and an impressive $4.5 billion surplus, there's plenty of money to go around.

Small businesses and farmers will  benefit from tax cuts worth $330 million over four years.

From January next year businesses with a turnover of less than $2 million a year will be exempt from paying duties on insurance for work vehicles, professional indemnity and public liability.

For farmers, the duty on crop and livestock insurance will be abolished.

The budget also contains a $1.3 billion "regional growth fund" to create jobs and build regional sporting and cultural infrastructure.

Walcha chapter chair of NSW Farmers, Sonia O’Keefe, said she was sure that farmers in the Walcha area will welcome the support.

“I am particularly interested in the Connecting Country Communities - improving telecommunication connectivity in regional NSW to drive economic growth,” she said.  

“The severe lack of any-to-any connectivity in the Walcha district is frustrating and annoying for farmers and residents.  There is incredible potential for primary producers to adopt new innovations that may significantly increase productivity, however, the lack of any service or a sufficiently reliable service, both voice and data, is preventing them from participating in this new revolution.”

Mrs O’Keefe said it was time that both State and Federal governments stepped up to address the market failure in the provision of telecommunications in rural and remote areas.

Some of the key funding announcements for Walcha were: $872,000 for local road maintenance through Walcha Council and $34,000 for Walcha Community Transport along with the previously announced $227,000 for a new truck wash and $900,000 to upgrade Walcha’s sewerage infrastructure.

“It is pleasing to see the State Government deliver on a fiscally responsible budget, that is focussed on delivering much needed infrastructure, particularly across regional areas,” Mrs O’Keefe said. “The enormous potential for growth in regional NSW depends on this  infrastructure boost, ensuring our local economies and communities continue to expand.”

Walcha Council general manager Jack O’Hara said he  welcomed the budget, particularly the boost to regional water infrastructure.