The federal budget announced this week included some welcome cost of living relief for many Australians and it also included funding for a number of local capital projects.

The Albanese Government is also focused on delivering its fully funded election commitments across the Ballarat electorate. These include upgrades to recreation reserves and sporting facilities in Glenlyon and Creswick and funding for mineral springs reserves, most of which are in the Daylesford area.

$750,000 has been allocated for works at the Doug Lindsay Recreation Reserve in Creswick and $500,000 for the Glenlyon Recreation Reserve. $350,000 has been committed to the Mineral Springs Reserves Development Program. (The Draft Plan for Victoria’s Mineral Springs is currently open for comment until June 26.) All of these were commitments made by Labour during the federal election campaign.

“We are very pleased that our local community will benefit from some of the announcements in the federal budget. We are working with the Federal Government on the planning and timing of these projects,” said Hepburn Shire Mayor, Cr Brian Hood.

“It was also pleasing to see an additional $250 million towards road projects in rural, regional and outer urban areas, of which Hepburn Shire was allocated $559,000, in addition to the $969,000 already committed to Hepburn Shire. We will review priorities and projects to determine how this money can best be spent in our Shire before the June 2025 deadline,” he said.

Also set to benefit local regional areas is the newly announced Growing Regions Program. The program will invest in critical regional infrastructure and community projects across regional and rural Australia through two $300 million funding rounds. Local government entities and not-for-profit organisations will be able to apply for grants of between $500,000 and $15 million through the program, which will be open, competitive and merit-based.

“We are still reviewing the federal budget and its broader impacts on the community and local government. In a very tough fiscal environment, the partnership with all tiers of government will be critical for the funding of projects. Council’s own budget for 2023/24 will soon be released for public review and it too will reflect the tight economic environment,” said Cr Hood.

Other measures which will impact the local community include cheaper child care and cheaper medicines.

From July, for the average Australian family on about $120,000 with a child in care three days a week, the changes will deliver cost of living relief of about $1,700 a year.

The government is also investing in Medicare by tripling bulk billing incentives. Hundreds of common medicines will cheaper by allowing patients to buy two months’ worth of medicine for the price of a single prescription. The change applies to more than 300 PBS medicines for chronic conditions where a GP assesses a patient’s condition as stable.

The government has announced a new Energy Price Relief Plan. Eligible residents will receive $250 towards their energy bills from the federal government in addition to the existing state government’s $250 Power Saving Bonus.

The budget will also assist low-income households facing the rising cost of rents with a 15% boost to the maximum rates of Commonwealth Rent Assistance.

Member for Ballarat, Catherine King, said “This budget is about supporting the vulnerable in our community, and balancing cost of living relief with responsible economic management.

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