Lawrie Briscoe is unfazed by the government’s pledge to provide seniors with a digital set-top box expected in tonight’s budget.
Lawrie Briscoe is unfazed by the government’s pledge to provide seniors with a digital set-top box expected in tonight’s budget.

What's in Federal Budget for us?

AS THE nation anxiously awaits tonight’s unveiling of what has been described as a “monster budget”, many Rose City residents have been pleasantly surprised with the perks they are set to receive.

Pensioners look set to snag a free digital set-top box to cushion the transition from analogue to digital TV, schools will get a boost in funding for children with disabilities and some teachers are set to receive hefty bonuses in rewards for performance.

The $380 million set-top box scheme was confirmed by Treasurer Wayne Swan and covers the cost of a digital set-top box, installation and instructions on how to use the device for recipients of the maximum amount of pension.

Warwick pensioner Lawrie Briscoe said he wasn’t too fussed on the distribution of set-top boxes among pensioners, who he believes are pretty well off as it is.

Mr Briscoe’s home was inundated twice during the floods and said afterwards a neighbour kindly donated a set-top box and TV to him.

Despite this Mr Briscoe said he rarely spent time in front of the telly, preferring instead to soak up the sun on his front porch with his feline friend, Sneaky.

“I get bored with it but I mainly watch the news,” he said.

“And I only have one good eye so watching too much television isn’t good for me.

When asked if there were any other inclusions he hoped were included in the budget, Mr Briscoe said he was pretty happy with things as they were.

“We’re getting a pretty good pension as it is,” he said.

“We get $700-something odd dollars a fortnight – if there’s anyone who can’t live on that, there’s something wrong.”

Neighbour and fellow pensioner Brett Skinner said he had heard of the plan to provide pensioners with set-top boxes and said he would appreciate the implementation of the scheme.

Mr Skinner lost three TVs in the floods and said he now just has one small portable one to watch his favourite TV programs.

Southern Downs Mayor Ron Bellingham said he was hoping to see a few things included in tonight’s budget, including the day labour costs for flood works.

“I would like to see Warwick and the region included in the National Broadband Network,” Cr Bellingham said.

“It’s sad because it could have advanced the area so much.”

Despite believing it to likely be “pie in the sky”, Cr Bellingham also said he would like the notorious Eight Mile intersection included in the budget.

Finally, Cr Bellingham said he was hopeful tonight’s budget would include help for the region’s families.

“I would like to see more tax concessions for working families with children,” he said.

Cr Bellingham said the system was made too complicated for working families who were already doing it tough.

Another big winner announced already is the small business owner, who is set to receive the first $5000 of a new vehicle tax-free.

What do you think of the budget preview? Are you a winner or a loser? Send your thoughts via email to edit@ warwickdailynews.com.au or phone 4660 1315.



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