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More jobs: Morrison shares secret about how to balance the budget

Politics

Scott Morrison has reminded Australians of his economic credentials, saying he was the treasurer that brought the budget back into balance by increasing employment.

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“There is no great secret to this,” the prime minister told reporters in Sydney on Monday as part of what is seen an an unofficial election campaign.

“You get people off welfare and you get them into a job. They go from taking a payment to paying taxes.”

Finance Minister Simon Birmingham has ruled out raising taxes to improve the budget bottom line, saying it would be counterproductive to growing the economy.

Senator Birmingham and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will hand down the mid-year budget review on December 16.

Frydenberg has already indicated he will be upgrading growth forecasts for next year, as the economy rebounds strongly from the contraction seen in the September quarter due to Covid-19 related lockdowns.

“Our low tax approach is not only fuelling Australia’s successful economic recovery, but it is also leading to improvements to our budget position,” Senator Birmingham told an Australian Financial Review conference on Monday.

“With more Australians in work and less on welfare we can make significant indents in that budget position quite quickly.”

The government’s financial statement for October released on Monday shows the underlying budget deficit for the 2021/22 financial year running at $43.9 billion, $7.8 billion smaller than expected after four months.

Receipts were $20.2 billion higher than expected at that stage of the year and were only partly offset by payments being $12.4 billion above forecast.

The deficit for the full financial year was forecast at $106.6 billion in the May budget.

“We certainly won’t be looking at ways to increase taxes on businesses or households in the future, as we see that as being very much a counterproductive thing that will only dampen confidence and hurt growth,” Senator Birmingham said.

He said the government was backing lower taxes as an essential way to drive confidence and investment.

Morrison said this was the predominant way the budget was patiently rebuilt when the coalition came to government after Labor left it in a “complete mess”.

He took aim at Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese unveiling a policy to provide “free” services such as TAFE.

“Whenever Labor tells you something is going to be free, I guarantee you, you will end up paying for it, every single time,” Mr Morrison said.

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