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Hey big spender: Frydenberg defends splashing billions on tax cuts, jobs and services

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Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has defended his federal budget spending bonanza which will pour billions of dollars into tax breaks, job creation and critical services.

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison will join Mr Frydenberg’s post-budget sales pitch on Wednesday after the government revealed a major cash splash.

With the budget largely bereft of losers, the government is preparing the ground for the next federal election due between August and May.

Low and middle-income earners will have a tax break worth up to $1080 extended for a year, while businesses will also benefit from asset write offs and other incentives.

Aged care will receive an extra $17.7 billion over four years to address a damning royal commission report which detailed horror stories of neglect and abuse.

Some $2.3 billion will be spent on a mental health funding increase which experts had been demanding for years.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme is receiving a $13.2 billion boost, while money will also be shelled out on training and apprentice subsidies.

Another $15 billion was added to the government’s 10-year infrastructure pipeline for road and rail projects.

Despite years of relentless criticism of the previous Labor government’s spending, the coalition insists the coronavirus pandemic has rewritten the rules.

“This has been the most significant economic shock since the Great Depression,” Mr Frydenberg told the ABC.

He said the impact had dwarfed the global financial crisis, which sparked major stimulus from the ALP.

The budget deficit is forecast to be $106.6 billion in 2021/22, while debt is expected to reach almost $1 trillion in 2024/25.

Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said the budget was a political fix designed to get the coalition through to an election “before reverting to type”.

“We’ve still got a higher priority on cleaner and cheaper energy, social housing, proper investment in good and secure well-paid jobs,” he told the ABC.

Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott said the budget would propel Australia out of the pandemic and lay foundations for a jobs-led recovery.

“The budget builds on the significant gains we’ve made to create jobs, get people and businesses back to work, rebuild confidence and fire up economic growth,” she said.

Australian Council of Trade Unions president Michele O’Neil warned insecure and unreliable jobs would be a handbrake on economic growth and wages.

“This budget has done nothing to create more secure, reliable employment or increase wages,” she said.

What will the budget mean for you, your family and your business? Tomorrow, InQueensland, in partnership with BDO, will bring you an in-depth analysis of this historic budget – delivered directly to your in-box.  Don’t miss this special Federal Budget Insight, brought to you by BDO (Thursday May 13)

 

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