Labor candidate Andrew Woodward, Independent Rob Oakeshott and Nationals candidate Patrick Conaghan.
Labor candidate Andrew Woodward, Independent Rob Oakeshott and Nationals candidate Patrick Conaghan. Contributed

Cowper candidates have their say on federal budget

Back in the black or signs of black clouds circling, candidates for the seat of Cowper in the upcoming federal election have reacted to last night's budget.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has delivered a $7.1 billion surplus - the first in a decade.

Nationals candidate for Cowper Pat Conaghan was doing most of the spruiking the morning after.

"Almost 60,000 people in Cowper will win from accelerated and expanded income tax relief, with 21,291 getting double the income tax relief available before the Budget, receiving the maximum break of $1080. They are the biggest tax cuts since the Howard years," Mr Conaghan said.

"Almost 19,000 small and medium businesses (18,669) will benefit from the increase in instant asset write-offs from $25,000 to $30,000, which had been increased from $20,000 to $25,000 as recently as January."

But some candidates were asking: where's Luke Hartsuyker?

"He's already retired. He hasn't had a thing to say about the budget. He should clock off the week after the election - not a month or so before it. He really is showing contempt for us," Labor candidate for Cowper Andrew Woodward said.

Independent candidate Robert Oakeshott has welcomed news The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet's Indigenous Affairs Group will relocate 35 positions to regional areas including ours, with 69 new and relocated positions within the Australian Maritime Authority also benefiting Coffs.

"There is potentially some good news in the budget with public sector staff moving to Coffs but I am surprised the sitting local MP hasn't shared this good news," Mr Oakeshott said.

He has warned the stimulus budget is a sign of dark clouds in the economy, "as well as the obvious vote buying pre-election".

Mr Conaghan took the opportunity to outline the Coalition's credentials as sound, disciplined, economic managers.

"The 28,135 aged pensioners in Cowper have seen payments increase by $117.80 for single pensioners and by $177.40 for couples since the Coalition came to office.

"Spending on hospitals across NSW has increased by 59 per cent since the Coalition came to office, with spending going up in the budget this year alone from $4.3 billion to $6.8 billion," he said.

But Mr Woodward hit back saying much of this is the core business of government.

"They expect congratulations for doing what they're meant to do. On some other things, they've simply caught up with Labor's policies," Mr Woodward said.

 

Palmer party candidate for cowper Lex Stewart. 13  MAR  2018
Palmer party candidate for cowper Lex Stewart. 13 MAR 2018 TREVOR VEALE

Alexander Stewart, United Australia Party candidate for Cowper, has welcomed the tax relief but says there is almost nothing for self-funded retirees and pensioners.

Like Mr Woodward he was also concerned at the lack of funding to address youth unemployment.

"I also don't see anything that would bring down power bills for households or industries struggling under electricity and gas prices that are among the highest in the world, making them less competitive," Mr Stewart said.

He welcomed the commitment to spend $100 billion on infrastructure over the next decade but says the commitments to rail and dams/water are inadequate.

"This shows a lack of vision, whereas the UAP party is proposing visionary things. Both sides of politics are to be condemned for having built no dams since 1983 in this the driest continent on earth," Mr Stewart said.