Tonight’s passing of legislation for a backpacker tax of 15% ends weeks of uncertainty for Australian farmers and small businesses, but it should never have got to this.
The Nationals Senator for New South Wales John Williams said he could not believe that those who depend on backpackers to work for them would be treated as punching bags by the Labor Party, the Greens and some of the crossbenches.
Senator Williams said the Government had done the right thing in offering to reduce the tax rate from 19% to 15% even though it was a $120 million hit on the Budget, and said he and his Coalition colleagues were disappointed to see crossbench members vote it down on
The Australian Government has announced the new Building Better Regions Fund that will see major investment in projects that will create jobs and build stronger rural, regional and remote communities into the future.
Minister for Regional Development Fiona Nash has announced a $297 million fund to deliver infrastructure projects and community activities located outside the major capital cities, and Nationals Senator for New South Wales John Williams says it will be available in two streams.
He said the Infrastructure Projects Stream will invest in projects that involve the construction of new infrastructure or the upgrade of existing infrastructure.
Teaching, training and retaining the next generation of health workers in rural, regional and remote Australia is a priority for the Australian Government.
The Nationals Senator for New South Wales John Williams says the Coalition Government has moved to streamline the former Rural and Regional Teaching Infrastructure Grants programme to better respond to the needs of rural communities and support the work of rural general practices.
He said $13.1 million will be provided as infrastructure grants that can be used for construction, fit-out and renovation of an existing general practice building.
Senator Williams said the funding can also be used for the supply and installation of information and communication technology equipment or medical equipment.
Community organisations in Hunter are encouraged to apply for a grant of up to $5,000 to assist the work of their volunteers.
The Nationals Duty Senator for Hunter John Williams said the funding is being made available under the $10 million Volunteer Grant round to support volunteers who give their time and skills to their local groups.
Senator Williams said numerous organisations in Hunter benefited from grants of between $1,000 and $5,000 last year for such things as first aid training and equipment, computer and electronic equipment, and reimbursement for volunteers’ training and fuel costs.
Applications for Volunteer Grants close on the 20th of December 2016 and further information is available at dss.gov.au/grants.