'Help the weak links'
PENSIONERS and apprentices - those are the two groups Murwillumbah business spokesperson Toni Zuschke is hoping will benefit most from last night's Federal Budget.
“People entering the workforce and people who have retired and left the workforce are our weakest link,” said Mrs Zuschke, the recently elected president of the Murwillumbah and District Business Chamber.
“They are the ones that can't spend because they have not been catered for.
“I will be interested to see what the Government has got planned there.”
Mrs Zuschke said Tweed businesses were highly reliant on both groups, particularly pensioners because the area has the highest proportion of aged residents in New South Wales.
“I don't think there's enough for pensioners. They are one of our major concerns,” she said.
“There really should be a lot more put in for them.
“A lot of people are struggling and pensioners are among them, especially single pensioners.”
Mrs Zuschke said trainees and apprentices also required a better deal because of the low wages many received.
“With some traineeships, people are getting $225 a week gross.
“Why would they get off their butts and off the dole for an extra 25 bucks a week and work?
“There are incentives for employers to employ, but no incentives for these young people to work.”
Labor MP for Richmond Justine Elliot declined to comment ahead of last night's budget speech by Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan.
National Party senator Fiona Nash said regional areas like the Tweed would continue to suffer more than the cities from the Rudd Government's economic mismanagement.
“Mr Rudd is following the lead of his NSW counterparts Rees, Iemma and Carr in shifting resources away from regional areas to Labor's city heartlands.”
“For example, everyone in Mr Rudd's Brisbane electorate will get super-fast broadband, but in the Tweed a dozen towns will miss out.
“It proves Richmond Labor MP Justine Elliot is not doing her job.”
Tweed mayor Joan van Lieshout said she had been hoping that promised funds for major projects such as revamping Jack Evans Boat Harbour or rebuilding the Pacific Highway at Sexton Hill would not be pulled.
She said both projects would create a lot of jobs.