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

HIP POCKET

* “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

ENVIRONMENT

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

* $86 million in support of the forestry industry in Tasmania

BIOSECURITY

* National Biosafety Strategy

DEFENSE

* $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

INFRASTRUCTURE

* $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

WOMEN

* $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.

RED RIBBON

* $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.

HEALTH

* 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

EDUCATION/SKILLS

* $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

RESEARCH

* The critical minerals industry will receive a $200 million accelerator grant 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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