South Western Times
Jobs key in Budget
Getting Australians back into work and bringing unemployment to the lowest sustained level it has reached since the 1970s is the centrepiece of this year’s Federal Budget.
Declaring “Australia is coming back”, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg predicted that wages would rise by the 2022-23 financial year and the unemployment rate would fall to 4.75 per cent by June 2023.
A suite of programs received cash in the bigspending Budget, the first without former finance minister Mathias Cormann at the helm.
However, much of the spending had already been announced before last night.
The Budget was Mr Frydenberg’s third overall and his second since the onset of the pandemic.
“In the face of a once-ina-century pandemic the Australian spirit has shone through,” Mr Frydenberg, pictured, said.
The Budget showed an expected $84.5 billion improvement in tax receipts over four years to 2023-24 since last year’s Budget and the Treasurer conceded some of that was down to iron ore.
But he said the majority was income tax receipts but if the iron ore price remained high it could add more than $12b to the Budget coffers.
“Today we are giving a very big thanks to WA and the iron ore industry because we are seeing record prices and that is driving iron ore companies’ tax receipts and more export dollars for Australia,” Mr Frydenberg said.
TAX CUTS AND DEBT
Among the measures announced last night was about $30b in tax breaks for low and middleincome earners and businesses.
Australia’s deficit will be $161b this financial year — a $57b improvement compared with last year’s Budget. The deficit will then reduce to $57b in 2024-25.
But net debt will be $617b this financial year and reach $980.6b in 202425. Gross debt will sit at close to $1.2 trillion in 2024-25 and will be $963b in 2021-22.
The interest payable on our debt will be $17b next year and $20.8b in 2024-25.
A $17.7b aged-care package was the biggest single spend in the Budget. It came in response to the aged care royal commission which uncovered the horrific treatment of our nation’s most vulnerable.
The royal commission found two-thirds of our elderly in residential facilities were malnourished and 40 per cent had suffered abuse or neglect.
Mental health will get a $2.3b funding boost to a range of targeted programs. New adult mental health hubs similar to youth Headspace centres will be established nationally at a cost of $487.2 million.
The Federal Government this year released a Women’s Budget Statement for the first time since 2013 following the highlighted focus on the treatment of women after Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins revealed she was allegedly raped by a colleague while working for former defence minister Linda Reynolds.
Among the measures included $1.1b in new funding for women’s safety with the domestic violence spend more than doubling after the recent murders of Gold Coast woman Kelly Wilkinson and three-month-old baby Kobi Shepherdson due to domestic violence.
A $35.1 million prevention package will also be included which will continue the campaigns targeted at young people, including primary schoolchildren.