The Government is on track to meet its commitment to contribute $5.6 billion towards the flood recovery effort following support from the Independents and the Greens.
The changes negotiated with the Independents and Greens have ensured that less than three per cent of the original flood package has been altered.
This amounts to savings changes worth a total of $150 million over the forward estimates from 2011-12 to 2014-15.
Any suggestions that the negotiations led to a reduction of more than three per cent in the proposed package are simply incorrect.
The changes which came out of the negotiations are:
- Restoring $100 million to the solar flagship program - including reversing a $60 million cut to the program and ensuring an additional $40 million is spent on the program in the current forward estimates
- Restoring $50 million worth of grants previously administered by the Australian Learning and Teaching Centre - which will now be delivered by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.
No changes have been made to the savings related to the National Rental Affordability Scheme.
As announced in the original flood package, the Government will continue to realise $249 million worth of savings during the forward estimates by limiting the number of homes built under the National Rental Affordability Scheme during the forward estimates to 35,000.
The Government has confirmed its original intention to continue the successful National Rental Affordability Scheme beyond the forward estimates (in 2015-16) once the first 35,000 homes have been constructed.
The Government has welcomed the support of Independent members of the Parliament for this levy. Tony Crook gave early support to the policy, with Senator Steve Fielding and Bob Katter also supporting the proposal after talks with the Government. The support from the Greens and Andrew Wilkie is also welcomed.
The Government looks forward to discussions on the flood levy with Independent Senator Nick Xenophon next week.
This package will ensure that essential funds go towards the rebuilding of flood affected infrastructure such as roads, bridges and railway lines damaged by the recent natural disasters.