The impact

IT was promised to be one of the toughest budgets to be delivered in over a generation. With a $210 billion shortfall in revenue, Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan issued a stern warning that some sacrifices would have to be made.

But the news wasn't all bad, with some long over-due promises being kept and new funding initiatives building for the future.

So what exactly does the Budget mean to Coffs Coast residents?

The Pensioner

THE single pension will rise by $32 a week for single pensioners and $10 a week for couples.

Coffs Harbour single pensioner Peter Rake says 'you can't look a gift horse in the mouth' although he says single pensioners are still 'behind the eight ball'.

“Because it's not available until September, it won't take much for supermarkets to give their prices a nudge,” Mr Rakesaid. “I think the pension rise had to come.”

Mr Rake raises concerns about costs of living, such as rent, being raised on pensioners once they get the extra money. Mr Rake says that pensioner sare the group that spend all of their disposable income “so the Government gets some back in GST”.

“Thirty bucks is good,” Mr Rake said. “Under the economic pressures at the moment, it's really good,” Mr Rake added.

The Student

WITH the Government relaxing parental income tests and lowering the independent age, university students will now have greater access to financial help.

“I think it's a great thing,” Coffs Harbour based student Sarah Horne said.

“Students will have better access to a support system throughout their uni life,” she added.

The Rudd Government will provide $559.9 million over four years to relax the parental income test to make it easier for students to access Youth Allowance.

“The increase in the means test amounts is great, because it will allow access (to Austudy) for students who previously didn't qualify because their parents earn too much, but not enough to support them at uni,” Sarah said.

The Young Family

WITH Toormina's Kira and Brendan Campbell starting a new family, paid parental leave couldn't have come at a better time in their lives.

From 2011, the Federal Government will introduce 18 weeks' paid leave at the minimum wage - an average $540 a week .

“The maternity leave when it comes in is the main thing for us in the Budget,” said Kira, who is pregnant with their first child.

“I think the baby bonus was a stupid idea. I just don't think giving someone a lump sum is going to do much in the long run.

“I think maternity leave is a lot more productive.”

Kira, who works full-time for Woolworths, says she's lucky because she already gets six weeks' maternity leave and two weeks' pay on her return to the job.

More Budget 2009 news ...

Budget $58b in red

Economy set to shed a million jobs

Retirement age boosted to 67

Budget grants business tax relief

First home grant to stay... for now

Wealthy retirees may have pensions cut

Labor must own problems: Libs

Budget to 'hit tourism with $1b tax'

Budget to slash health rebates

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