Our budget delivers responsible relief for all, not some

Prime Minister

We know Australians are feeling under pressure. That’s why our budget is designed to deliver for every Australian, in every part of our economy and every part of our country.

There are tax cuts for every Australian taxpayer – not just some.

There is energy bill relief for every Australian household – not just some.

Australians will receive an energy rebate of $300 from July 1 – and one million small businesses will get $325. As well as getting power bills down, making housing costs cheaper by boosting Commonwealth Rent Assistance and providing debt relief for university students, we are also helping Australians get the accessible healthcare they need.

We are making Medicare stronger, and medicine cheaper, by freezing the cost of prescriptions.

Australians need affordable housing and we need to build more homes right across the country. Our Homes for Australia plan invests billions to do just that, and we’re boosting fee-free TAFE to train more tradies to build them.

We need to back Australian talent, hard work and creativity – making sure wages are growing – especially for those who do the crucial work of caring for our kids and older Australians.

This is a budget for every Australian, from a government working for all Australians. Inflation has been moderating and real wages are growing.

But Australians continue to feel financial pressure.

Our No.1 priority is giving Australians cost-of-living relief.

Tuesday night’s budget provides responsible relief for households while reducing inflationary pressure in the economy.

Our actions are careful, deliberate and responsible – and because of that we’ve been able to forecast a second surplus of $9.3bn. Last year we turned a $78bn deficit that we inherited from Scott Morrison into a $22bn surplus.

While we’ve been razor-focused on the immediate needs of families, we also need to invest in the future. We need to build economic and energy security for Australia. We are working to set up the country for success over the longer term.

We need to secure a future made in Australia, with secure, well-paid jobs.

This is about Australia seizing a once-in-a-generation chance to become a renewable energy superpower. We need to attract more investment in homegrown industries so we can make more things here.

The great regions of Australia – the Illawarra, the Hunter Valley, the Latrobe Valley, Geelong, Gladstone and the resources precincts of Queensland and Western Australia – have powered Australia for a couple of centuries, and they will continue to do so in the net-zero world.

We need to use our rich abundance of natural and human resources to power a secure and sustainable future.

Encouraging investment in areas like critical minerals and green hydrogen will help make Australia an indispensable part of the net-zero economy of the future.

The budget invests in Australia’s economic future with production tax incentives for green hydrogen and processed critical minerals.

A new Future Made in Australia Innovation Fund will also back new industries like low-carbon fuels and green metals. Australia has all the tools it needs to prosper in the net-zero world. All that’s required is a government prepared to back in Australian jobs and opportunity.

Our political opponents are all negativity and no plan.

While the government has been relentless in fighting inflation, and fighting for Australian families, Peter Dutton’s only relentlessness is playing politics.

On Thursday we will hear from Mr Dutton. He has spent the past two years saying no to every measure we’ve proposed to deal with cost of living.

He has said no to energy bill relief, no to cheaper medicines, no to wage increases.

It’s time for Mr Dutton to give Australians some answers. He needs to deliver fully costed plans. He needs to tell Australians what services he’ll slash. He needs to come clean about where he’ll put his nuclear reactors.

Budgets are about choices, and we are proud of our choices.

The government seeks to represent every Australian.

There’s more to do, and we’ll keep working every day to deliver for all Australians.

This opinion piece was first published in The Australian on Thursday, 16 May 2024.

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