BUDGET 2014: Tough measures ensure a sustainable future, says Cobb

TALL ORDER: Federal treasurer Joe Hockey goes over the tough budget with member for Calare John Cobb. Mr Cobb says the budget will ensure his grandchildren have a sustainable future.

TALL ORDER: Federal treasurer Joe Hockey goes over the tough budget with member for Calare John Cobb. Mr Cobb says the budget will ensure his grandchildren have a sustainable future.

MEMBER for Calare John Cobb conceded the 2014 federal budget would be a hard sell to the people of the central tablelands. 

With a fuel excise, uncapped university fees, a six-month wait for the dole, a $7 co-payment to see a GP and cuts to family tax benefits, there were not many people in Calare who would not feel the pinch. 

However, Mr Cobb believes the region came out on top with an investment of $50 billion nationally in infrastructure spending over five years.

Unfortunately, not a lot of it comes our way. 

The Great Western Highway upgrade will receive $96 million and central west residents could possibly make use of the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail which was given $300 million in funding.

The rest goes to national projects including the black spot program which installed traffic lights and roundabouts and a “slight increase” in the roads to recovery program which gives councils money to fix roads, bridge upgrades and financial assistance grants. 

Mr Cobb said when it came to the increase in the cost of fuel by the rate of inflation every six months, it was unavoidable that regional Australia would be hit the hardest.

“On the other hand we’re better off because of infrastructure because that means productivity,” he said. 

“The diesel fuel rebate, that won’t be touched, that’s a good thing,” he said.

Mr Cobb believes workers over 50 will become more attractive after the budget as employers who put them on receive $10,000, but the young and unemployed may have to stay with their parents for at least six months before they are eligible for the dole. 

Mr Cobb had previously said he did not appreciate the idea of a levy for people earning over $200,000 where they would be forced to pay an extra $400 in tax and he had not changed his mind. 

“But the overall package, the various parts of it ... it goes towards giving us a sustainable future,” he said.

“I’ve got kids and grandchildren, I’ve got a stake in making sure things are on the right track for the future.”

Mr Cobb didn’t go as far as saying he supported the $7 GP co-payment, but said it was inevitable and the money raised will go towards a $20 billion medical research future fund.

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