• Matthew Carberry

The 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 "fiscal dividend of a stronger economy".

  • Budget deficit estimated to be around $70 billion, instead of the $98.9 billion estimated in the mid-year budget review in December 2021

  • Debt is edging towards $1 trillion, but budget papers will show it stabilising before declining in the medium term based on continuing economic growth

  • Unemployment on four per cent (February official figure)

  • Budget papers will give a conservative estimate of revenue from minerals such as coal and iron ore, despite them earning record prices


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

  • "Targeted and proportionate" cost of living relief, possibly cash payments for low and middle-income earners

  • 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

  • Pension and welfare payments rise from March 20, benefiting 4.9 million people and costing the budget $2.2 billion extra over the year

  • No bringing forward of high-end income tax cuts

ENVIRONMENT

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

  • $86 million forestry industry support in Tasmania

  • $60 million for recycling modernisation

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

  • $500 million for Urannah dam in central Queensland

  • $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

  • $74 million top-up for Perth city deal

  • $668 million for southeast Queensland city deal

WOMEN

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

  • $104 million to prevent technology and devices being used to perpetrate or facilitate 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

  • Waiving of fees and taxes for reef-based industries over 2022/23 financial 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

  • $61.2 million for the Australian Genomic Cancer Medical Centre to research and develop drugs for people with advanced cancers

  • $315 million over four years to extend its national ice drug action strategy

EDUCATION/SKILLS

  • $6.4 billion for independent schools, growing to $8.5 billion by 2029.

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

  • Support for Indigenous boarding students

RESEARCH

  • Critical minerals industry to get $200 million Accelerator grants program, $50 million to support research and development and an updated industry strategy.

MANUFACTURING

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


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