Treasurer Josh Frydenberg handed down his first Budget last night focusing on tax cuts and major investments in infrastructure, schools and healthcare.
With a $7.1 billion surplus projected for 2019-20, totalling $45 billion over the next four years, the Treasurer proclaimed “the Budget is back in the black and Australia is back on track’’.
A feature of this year’s Budget was additional tax relief for Australians with the low and middle income tax offset more than doubled, and plans to cut the 32.5 per cent tax bracket to 30 per cent by 2024-25. The Federal Government will also deliver tax relief for around 3.4 million small and medium-sized businesses to “help them reinvest in their business, create jobs and grow’’.
Infrastructure spending will be increased by $100 billion over the coming decade, with Queensland benefiting in particular. The Treasurer said the measure aims “to ease congestion in our cities, to unlock the potential of our regions, to better manage population growth, and to improve safety on our roads’’.
Australia’s education system has benefited from record investment, with recurrent funding for schools reaching $19.9 billion in 2019. By 2029, this funding will grow to $32.4 billion, an increase of 63 per cent. A total of $525 million over five years has been allocated to develop a modern Vocation Education and Training (VET) sector, with a National Skills Commission to be established to drive long-term reform of VET.
Heath funding is expected to increase from $81.8 billion in 2019-20 to $89.5 billion in 2022-23. The Federal Government will invest $461 million in youth mental health and suicide prevention, allowing for 30 new headspace centres as well as more support for Indigenous youth including through mentoring and peer support.
Major investments from the 2019-20 Budget:
- $284 million for a one-off, income-tax exempt payment to help Australians pay their energy bills.
- $1.4 billion equity injection into the Snowy 2.0 project to provide more affordable, reliable and sustainable power for up to 500,000 homes.
- $56 million for a new interconnector between Tasmania and Victoria; this will be in partnership with the Tasmanian Government to accelerate the Battery of the Nation and Marinus Link Projects.
- $21.6 billon for better access to higher quality and safer aged care.
- $282.4 million for an additional 10,000 home care packages to allow older Australians to stay at home longer.
- Increase total spending from $81.8 billion in 2019-20 to $89.5billion in 2022-23.
- $199 million to increase patient rebates for diagnostic imaging items on the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS).
- $32.6 million to support 14,000 breast cancer patients each year to reduce the cost of services for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
- $187 million to increase patient rebates for 119 GP service items on the MBS.
- Further $152 million to be invested in new MRI licences to give patients better access to leading health care.
- $1.3 billion Community Health and Hospitals Program to boost health services across Australia.
- $331 million for new and amended listings on the PBS, including for life-changing medicines to treat lung, bladder, kidney and skin cancers as well as leukaemia.
- $461 million for an Australian youth mental health and suicide prevention strategy.
- Recurrent funding for schools to reach $19.9 billion in 2019; by 2029, this funding will grow to $32.4 billion, an increase of 63 per cent.
- $30.2 million in 2019-20 for schools under the Local School Community Fund.
- $453 million to extend the National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education.
- $17.7 billion investment in the higher education system.
- $525 million over five years to develop a modern Vocation Education and Training sector, with the establishment of a National Skills Commission to drive long-term reform.
- $41.7 million over four years to pilot skills organisations in key areas of human services care and digital technologies including cyber security.