13 Feb 2009

Australian parliament passes $A42b stimulus plan

10:13 pm on 13 February 2009

The package, which the government hopes will save the country from sliding into recession, was defeated by one vote on Thursday, but passed by 30 votes to 28 when a new vote was taken in the Senate on Friday.

The amended package, which was passed in the lower house on Thursday night, will see cash handouts to low and middle-income earners and single-income families cut by $A50, a concession won by the Australian Greens.

Single-income families and those earning less than $A80,000 will now receive $A900, while people on incomes of between $A80,000 and $A90,000 will receive $A600, and those earning between $A90,000 and $A100,000 will get an $A250 bonus.

The original package was torpedoed in the Senate on Thursday after independent Senator Nick Xenophon sided with the coalition when the government refused to fast-track $A3.1 billion in funds already allocated for water buy-backs and irrigation projects in the Murray-Darling Basin.

Independent senator Nick Xenophon agreed to terms with the Government after talks with Treasurer Wayne Swan.