THE federal government may have added in some election sweeteners into its budget this week, but what does it all mean for Leeton shire residents?
As is the case every year, the budget has been met both with optimism and pessimism depending what side of the fence one sits on.
Farmers suffering from the crippling and ongoing drought have received a boost, with $6.3 billion in support.
There is $29.4 million allocated over four years to enhance Australia's agricultural exports. The package includes funding to increase market access, improved access to plant genetics for the horticulture sector and more than $11 million to minimise the impact of non-tariff trade barriers.
For small-to-medium business owners in Leeton shire, they can look forward to a reduction in the tax rate and expanded access to an instant asset write-off.
Leeton Chamber of Commerce president Wayne Bond said on face value the benefits for businesses in the shire appeared positive.
"I particularly like the look of the instant asset write-off," he said.
"With the reduction in tax rate I think it will give businesses the stimulation they need to grow. Hopefully all of these things can deliver a boost."
Families on a low to medium wage can also look forward to tax cuts.
The budget also made progress in addressing some of the infrastructure issues facing local councils.
Leeton Shire Council mayor Paul Maytom was pleased there had been a "focus on farming".
"The increase in Roads to Recovery funding is welcome, but the amount allocated does little to address many years of underfunding," he said.
"Disappointingly the lost Financial Assistance Grant income from previous indexation freezes has not been caught up either in this budget, frustrating our chances of fully addressing our infrastructure backlog.
"On a positive note the Building Better Regions Funding has been increased by $200 million and we intend to apply again for the region's freight multimodal and inland port project at Wumbulgal (WRConnect).
"Along with Narrandera shire we also hope to attract some of the $102 million Regional Airports Program."
The NSW Business Chamber has also cautiously welcomed the budget, which the government says is now back in the black.
The opportunities for small and medium sized businesses to compete internationally has been increased with $60 million added to the Export Market Development Grant Program, another key recommendation from the NSW Business Chamber.
"The much talked about personal income tax cuts for our lower paid workers will be greatly appreciated, putting more money in their pockets to spend at local businesses," chief executive officer Stephen Cartwright said.
"Recent Business Conditions Surveys conducted by the NSW Business Chamber highlight skills shortages in key industry sectors as the major impediment to business growth, particularly in regional areas, and the government has attacked that issue head on.
"More than half a billion dollars has been set aside for a skills package which will see the creation of 80,000 new apprenticeships, doubling the incentive payment for employers to $8000 for taking on an apprentice, while the apprentice will also receive a $2000 incentive payment."
However, the budget did fail to deliver much in the way of rural health funding.
Residents in Leeton shire have been calling out for more doctors, as well as having a doctor permanently stationed at the town's hospital.
While this is also a state government issue, the National Rural Health Alliance believes more money needs to be allocated to regional areas.
The peak national body for rural health did welcome the $62 million to train doctors in rural generalist practice, but chief executive officer Mark Diamond said the budget had 'largely failed' to address a critical shortage of allied health professionals for the seven million people living outside metropolitan Australia.
He labelled the budget a "mixed bag" for rural health.
"We've had a big and much-needed focus on medical services and we welcome that but comprehensive health care needs paramedics, pharmacists, nurses and a whole range of other health professionals too," Mr Diamond said.
"There was nothing in the budget to address this critical workforce shortage or to get them where they are so badly needed.
"And we were disappointed to see that major population health issues - obesity, maternity services, stillbirths or a national alcohol prevention strategy, all of which are well overdue for investment - were missing in the budget."
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