Budget 2014: What's in it for the Hunter

Image: Peter Riches

Image: Peter Riches

•Hunter Medical Research Institute and University of Newcastle researchers should benefit from increases to medical research funding through new $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund, funded by $7 Medicare co-contribution and other measures. (Budget speech, p7, 8)

•Hunter mobile phone black spots could be eased under national spending of $100 million over four years, with matching funding sought from state and local governments and the private sector. BP2, p67)

•Williamtown RAAF and Singleton army base likely to benefit from reintroduction of Australian Defence Force Gap Year Program,  giving Year 12 leavers the chance to experience defence force life for one year (BP2, p72)•Hunter defence veterans to benefit fro m extra $1.4 billion over four years in defence pension and death benefit improvements (BP2, p73)

• Hunter employers can share in $304 million program over four years providing grants of up to $10,000 for hiring workers aged 50 or over (BP2, p97)•$3.3 million for stormwater treatment improvements in Tuggerah Lakes (BP2, 101)

•University of Newcastle may benefit from national plan to lift doctor training places from 1200 to 1500, nationally, although other related cuts mean the government expects to save $115 million in four years (BP2, p143)

•Hunter to benefit from share of $200 million in extra Black Spot Program funding and extra $350 million in Roads to Recovery funding (BP2, p175)

•Hunter to share in new   National Stronger Regions Fund, spending $1 billion in five years (BP2, p179)

•New $5 billion privatisation fund - Infrastructure Growth Package , Asset Recycling Initiative, could see funds flow to the region if state assets such as HunterWater were privatised (BP2, p216)•Hunter to share in extra $350 million in national Roads to Recovery funding and an extra $200 million in national Black Spot funding  (BP3, 61, 62)

•$16 million from 2013 to 2019 on upgrading Bucketts Way at Gloucester (media statement, Infrastructure and Regional Development Minister Warren Truss)•$40 million by 2019 for Tourle St bridge duplication, with state government also to contribute (Warren Truss statement)

•$45 million over six years for Scone bypass (Warren Truss)•Hunter motorists to benefit from NorthConnex tollway joining M1 (formerly F3) at Warhoonga  with the M2 at West Pennant Hills. Federal and state governments contribute $405 million each with rest of the $3 billion cost to come from the private sector (Building Australia’s Infrastructure, budget pamphlet)

•Hunter artists, writers and performers may find it harder to get grants with $87 million in four years cut from ‘‘uncommitted arts funding’’ including $28 million from the Australia Council (BP2, p55)

•Private Health Insurance Ombudsman’s office merged into Office of Commonwealth Ombudsman, which may make it harder for people to have private insurance disputes investigated (BP2, p70)

•Hunter vignerons may suffer from abolition of Grape and Wine Research and Development Selection Committee and wine Australia Corporation Development Committee (BP2, p71)•University of Newcastle students will pay their share of new student loan repayment rules that will save the government $3.2 billion over four years (BP2, p77)

•University of Newcastle likely to be impacted by cuts to research and education funding, including $75 million in four years from the Australian Research Council and $174 million in four years from higher degree funding, allowing universities to charge new student fees to make up the shortfall (BP2, p79)

•Hunter workers owed entitlements if their employer folds will receive less under the government’s Fair Entitlements Guarantee, with changes to payment levels and indexing to save $88 million in four years (BP2, p95)

•Scoping study into potential privatisation of Defence Housing Australia Ltd, which manages defence residential rental properties in the region, especially for Williamtown. May also be seen as an opportunity for the region. (BP2, p117)

•Medicare Locals (including Newcastle Medicare Local) to be replaced with Primary Health Networks from July 2015. Government says changes will improve services but Opposition and others fear cuts to services (BP2, p129)

•CSIRO energy research centre at Steel River - a centrepiece of renewable energy research - may find it harder with abolition of Renewable Energy Agency, saving $1.3 billion in five years.  

Another $460 million is to be cut from carbon capture and storage flagship funding.  Carbon capture had been seen as crucial to improving the environmental credentials of black coal. (BP2, p163, 164) CSIRO Steel River may also be impacted by $112 million cut to CSIRO funding over four years (BP2, p170)

•Hunter industry employing apprentices could be impacted by the abolition of 10 training programs, including Accelerated Austalian Apprenticeships Program, saving $1 billion in five years (BP2, p168) Replacement program, Trade Support Loans, will cost $439 million over five years (BP2, p172)

•National Low Emmissions Coal Initiative to lose $17 million over two years, although $97 million over four years remains available for coal emission reduction research (BP2, p169)

•Hunter councils will be affected by four year pause indexing to Local Government Financial Assistance Grants Program, saving $952 million in four years (BP2, p178)  

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