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Anthony Albanese (Facebook/Anthony Albanese MP)

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has further dampened the hopes of those looking for welfare increases in the May Budget, saying it was important that fiscal policy matched monetary policy to see off inflation. Source: Australian Financial Review.

In doing so, he presented the four-year, $107 billion cost of the revamped stage three tax cuts, which will be the biggest cost-of living assistance measure in the Budget, as if it was new money.

“It’s fair to say that there won’t be another element in the Budget that’s worth $107 billion over the forward estimates,” he said.

“That’s what Labor’s tax cuts to every single taxpayer will deliver. It is a substantial contribution. It’s one that we did not make lightly. But it was the right decision, done for the right reasons, and it will have the right impact from July 1.”

The tax cuts, scheduled to begin on July 1, were legislated by the Morrison Government soon after the 2019 election and the cost has been factored into the Budget ever since.

This year, Labor revamped them to skew more of the benefit towards middle and low-income earners, but the cost of the tax package remained the same.

Mr Albanese said that in addition to the tax cuts, there would be some minor assistance on the cost of living, “but we want to do so in a way that does not impact on inflation”.

He cited previous measures such as one-off power bill discounts, which the Government is again considering, as well as ongoing supports such as tripling the bulk-billing incentive, cheaper childcare and fee-free TAFE.

Welfare groups are demanding another increase to the JobSeeker unemployment benefit, saying that despite last year’s increase of $40 a fortnight, it is not enough to live on.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said the Government should “contemplate” another fuel excise discount but conceded it would be expensive.


Inflation still a budget concern: Albanese (By Phillip Coorey, Australian Financial Review)