What we know so far about federal budget

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FEDERAL BUDGET – WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR:

THE BIG PICTURE

* With the COVID-19 pandemic, flooding and Ukraine-Russia war creating headwinds, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is emphasising the theme “economic strength is the foundation of national security”.

* Economists expect a budget deficit slightly better than the $98.9 billion estimated in the mid-year budget review in December 2021

* Debt is edging towards $1 trillion

* Unemployment is sitting on 4.2 per cent (January official figure)

THE GOVERNMENT’S PLAN

* Keep in place a tax-to-GDP ratio at or below 23.9 per cent

* Infrastructure investment

* Boosting skills

* Driving new manufacturing

* Energy plan

* Digital economy

* Modest budget repair

* Improving service delivery and funding national security measures

HIP POCKET

* Expected (but not confirmed) to include another 12 months of the low and middle income tax offset

* Bring forward of child care subsidy changes from July 1 to March 7, to cost around $224 million in 2021/22 and $670 million a year ongoing

* Government is weighing up a possible cut to fuel excise and other ways to ease pressure at the bowser

ENVIRONMENT

* $800 million over 10 years for strategic and scientific research and exploration in Antarctica.

* $86 million forestry industry support in Tasmania

BIOSECURITY

* National biosecurity strategy

DEFENCE

* $10 billion over two decades set aside for an east coast submarine base in Queensland or NSW

* $4.3 billion to help build a new dry dock facility in Henderson, Western Australia, with construction to start in 2023

* Defence spending expected to be around 2.1 per cent of GDP

* $282 million in the Northern Territory for 34 capability projects and maintenance and servicing work

* Support for Ukraine military forces

INFRASTRUCTURE

* $678 million for the sealing of 1000km of the Outback Way

* $2.26 billion for Adelaide’s North-South corridor motorway

* $40 million for bridges

WOMEN

* $189 million over five years to strengthen prevention and early-intervention efforts in family, domestic and sexual violence

RED TAPE

* $128.5 million reform package to provide greater certainty around environmental protection and streamline assessments

* Deregulation using international safety standards to save businesses $136 million a year

HEALTH

* Medicare to cost around $126 billion over four-year forward estimates

* Four-year rolling funding agreement and annual increases from July 1, 2023, for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services

SKILLS

* $1.2 billion over four years for an expanded Transition to Work employment service for disadvantaged youth

MANUFACTURING

* $55.4 million for BlueScope Steel’s Advanced Steel Manufacturing Precinct around the Port Kembla steelworks.

 

Paul Osborne
(Australian Associated Press)

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