Saturday, 16 December, 2017

Australia crafts budget 'to counter voter frustration'

Laurie Berry | 19 May, 2017, 14:43

MR IAN VERRENDER, business commentator on the ABC News website.

Mr Turnbull and Mr Morrison will hope Tuesday night's Budget proves to be a turning point for a government that has struggled in the polls since last year's election.

Australia has had a longer run of continuous growth - about 26 years - than any other country.

But it forecast widening deficits in the next three years before a return to surplus, which saw Standard and Poor's warn the rating could be lowered if the government does not improve its budget balances and deliver on the surplus plans.

According to Deloitte, the theme of this new Budget is to "bury the ghosts of Budgets past" - an appropriate assessment of this new spending spree, as it's been playfully dubbed in the media and social networks as a "Labor Budget" delivered by a Coalition government.

Defence spending will hit two per cent of GDP by 2020/21.

Treasurer Scott Morrison has announced first home buyers and older Australians will be able to use their superannuation to get tax breaks under a new housing affordability package.

Australian Federal Police to receive an extra A$321 million over four years for counter-terrorism and other efforts, plus around A$150 million extra for the nation's domestic and foreign spy agencies.

Westpac chief executive Brian Hartzer made it clearer in a statement issued this afternoon saying: "the cost of any new tax is ultimately borne by the shareholders, borrowers, depositors and employees".

Senate committees want Comey memos; intelligence panel asks him to testify
But White House officials have refused to say whether the president's conversations have been recorded. Mr Comey was abruptly fired last week, in a move that shocked Washington.

Less popular is likely to be a fee hike for university students.

The government plans to spend AU$5.3 billion ($3.9 billion) on building a second worldwide airport in Sydney which is due to open in 2016.

But Mr Morrison denied the plans were Labor-lite, when grilled by Ms Sales.

But there's still plenty of what Morrison now calls "good" debt, with the government planning a $75 billion infrastructure spent over the next decade, including Western Sydney airport and an inland train line from Melbourne to Brisbane.

Morrison also said that as well as the intention to further develop the Snowy Hydro, "the Commonwealth is open to acquiring a larger share or outright ownership" of the scheme from the Victorian and New South Wales governments. "It's $8 billion. A tax increase which affects nearly every working Australian", he said. "The NDIS is a shared commitment in this parliament", he said.

The government will impose an annual charge of a minimum A$5,000 on foreign owners of residential real estate if the property is vacant for at least six months of the year, a move aimed at increasing homes available on the rental market.

'If the banks want to send a message to Australia, that they want to horde this level of profit to themselves and not do their fair share to support budget fix, they can make that decision, ' he told 2SM Radio.

Along with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Mr Morrison has crafted a Budget created to reframe political conversations in this country between now and the next federal election in 2019.

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