Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke has welcomed the announcements made in Tuesday’s Federal Budget, describing it as “a forward-looking Budget designed to stimulate growth, meeting the needs of Australia now and into the future”.

Ms Cooke said the tax cuts and changes to tax brackets for individuals will put more money into people’s pockets and help ease cost-of-living pressures.

Ms Cooke said the measures to improve the welfare of retirees was of particular significance.

“Many residents in the Cootamundra electorate are of retirement age or older and the extension of the Pension Work Bonus plus the expansion of the Pension Loan Scheme will put a little bit back into their savings accounts.

“And for those who need help in their day-to-day lives, the $146 million for improved access to age care services in regional Australia will bring welcome tangible benefits,” Ms Cooke said.

“Healthcare is a critical part of everybody’s lives which is why the announcement of the $83.3 million Rural Health Strategy is such good news,” Ms Cooke added. “This will mean more doctors in regional NSW, and I for one am delighted to hear this.”

The announcement of $200 million on a third round of the Building Better Regions Fund plus the bolstering of the Regional Growth Fund will support regional infrastructure, a move which pleases Ms Cooke.

“I am a fighter and I have been pushing hard for increased investment in the Cootamundra electorate,” she said. “This funding boost will mean additional opportunities for us.”

Farmers will receive $26.6 million to manage pest and weed eradication, which Ms Cooke said will complement the $400 million Port Botany rail line duplication at the other end of the spectrum.

“Managing pests and weeds is a vital aspect of bringing produce to the export market, and that process will become more efficient with the increased capacity at Port Botany to get our Riverina produce out to export markets, which the Federal Government has worked so hard to open up to Australia,” Ms Cooke said.

“I’m so pleased to see there is so much for regional Australia in this Budget,” Ms Cooke said.