What we know so far about the federal budget
FEDERAL BUDGET – WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR:
THE BIG PICTURE
* With the COVID-19 pandemic, flooding and the Ukraine-Russia war creating headwinds, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg emphasizes the “fiscal dividend of a stronger economy.”
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* Fiscal deficit estimated at around $70 billion, down from the $98.9 billion estimated during the mid-year fiscal review in December 2021
* Debt nears $1 trillion, but budget documents will show it stabilizing before declining over the medium term due to continued economic growth
* Four percent unemployment (official February figure)
* Budget documents will give a conservative estimate of revenues from minerals such as coal and iron ore, although they are reporting record prices
THE GOVERNMENT PLAN
* Maintain a tax/GDP ratio equal to or less than 23.9%
* Investment in infrastructure
* Boost skills
* Management of new productions
* Energy plan
* Digital Economy
* Low budget repair
* Improve service delivery and fund national security measures
* “Targeted and proportionate” cost of living relief
* Planned (but not confirmed) to include an additional 12 months of low and middle income tax compensation
* Advance changes to child care subsidies from July 1 to March 7, at a cost of approximately $224 million in 2021/22 and $670 million annually thereafter
* Pension and social assistance payments increase from March 20, benefiting 4.9 million people and costing the budget an additional $2.2 billion over the year
* No deferral of high-end income tax cuts
* $800 million over 10 years for strategic and scientific research and exploration in Antarctica.
* $86 million in support of the forestry industry in Tasmania
* National Biosafety Strategy
* $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 drydock in Henderson, Western Australia, to begin construction in 2023
* Defense spending is expected to be around 2.1% of GDP
* $282 million in the Northern Territory for 34 capacity projects and maintenance and upkeep works
* Support for Ukrainian military forces
* $500 million for Urannah Dam in central Queensland
* $678 million for 1000 km waterproofing of the Outback Way
* $2.26 billion for the Adelaide North-South Corridor Motorway
* $40 million for bridges
* $74 million top-up for City of Perth deal
* $189 million over five years to strengthen prevention and early intervention efforts for family, domestic and sexual violence
* $104 million to prevent technology and devices from being used to perpetrate or facilitate family, domestic and sexual violence.
* $128.5 million reform package to provide greater certainty around environmental protections and streamline assessments
* Deregulation using international safety standards to save companies $136 million a year
* Fees and taxes waived for reef-based industries in fiscal year 2022/23.
* Medicare will cost about $126 billion over four years
* Four-year rolling funding agreement and annual increases beginning July 1, 2023 for Indigenous community-controlled health services
* $61.2 million for the Australian Genomic Cancer Medical Center for research and development of drugs for people with advanced cancers
* $6.4 billion for independent schools, rising 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 native boarders
* The critical minerals industry will receive a $200 million accelerator grant program, $50 million to support research and development and an updated industry strategy.
* $55.4 million for BlueScope Steel’s Advanced Steel Manufacturing Precinct around the Port Kembla steelworks.