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From The Editor

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With the Federal election approaching the 2016 Federal Budget was economically responsible, highlighted by significant tax changes for small to medium businesses and a lack of short term vote buying expenditure measures that we are accustomed to in the lead up to most elections.
The small business company tax rate will reduce to 27.5% from 1 July and the annual turnover threshold increases from $2 million to $10 million. The threshold increases each year up to $100 million in 2019/2020.
These changes acknowledge the importance of small to medium businesses for the Australian economy and will encourage them to innovate, employ and grow.
There is much more work required on our tax system to help make our nation more globally competitive but the budget represents a great start for the Australian economy. It is hoped that comprehensive tax reform will finally be addressed after the election.
The lack of electioneering spending should be praised. Previous pre-election spending initiatives have substantially contributed to the current deficit and the longer-term economic focus is a welcome change.
For the Hunter, it was disappointing, however, that additional funds were not allocated for local major infrastructure projects such as the Glendale Interchange or the M1 to Raymond Terrace link. It is hoped that our region doesn’t have to wait much longer for these and other vital local infrastructure projects to receive the funding they deserve.
As far as the election campaign goes, the Federal Budget will not be a big issue. Indeed, I would suggest that it was forgotten by most of the electorate within a day or two.
Although opinion polls are currently tight, history suggests that a change of government is unlikely, particularly with a relatively new Prime Minister who has not upset too much of the electorate.
It will however be interesting to see what tack the major parties take in the election campaign. Hopefully it will offer some vision for our country rather than the negative campaigns that we have had to endure in the lead up to recent elections.
Garry Hardie
Publisher & Editor