Budget briefs from the Valley

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The Federal Government’s back-down from its punitive plan to make the young unemployed wait six months before accessing welfare has been welcomed by front line support agency Anglicare. 

However, Anglicare regional director Jane Anderson said the one month wait was still too long for those turning 18 and coming out of legal state care.

Ms Anderson said she also did not see any significant action into housing affordability, particularly for the unemployed in Tuesday’s budget.

She said there were examples in Gippsland of six to 12 people living in three-bedroom homes, creating a cramped situation that put stress on families.

“What we tend to see for people in Gippsland is when there is housing stress, they’re living in accommodation that is just not sustainable,” Ms Anderson said.

However, Anglicare Gippsland welcomed the $33.3 million five-year commitment to Good Shepherd Microfinance, which supports people accessing no interest loan schemes and low interest loan schemes.

LATROBE Valley small businesses are rejoicing at generous tax breaks announced in Tuesday night’s federal budget.

Under the new budget, small businesses can claim unlimited costs of running their business, except stock, of up to $20,000.

Trafalgar-based painter Andrew Tangusso is a sole trader who was forced to go out on his own after his employment contract was cancelled. “If they’re going to pay less tax it gives people more of an opportunity,” Mr Tangusso said.

Member for Gippsland Darren Chester described Tuesday’s budget the best in living memory.

“Small business is the engine room of local employment in Gippsland. Major industry employs a lot of people in Latrobe Valley, but it’s local businesses, which supply those big players, which need this confidence boost,” Mr Chester said. 

Traralgon Chamber of Commerce president Darren Howe was pleased with the incentive, but said the bigger problem small businesses faced was getting customers to spend their money.

“What we need to do is stimulate spending, we have to create consumer confidence and encourage spending,” Mr Howe said.