IN AN uncertain and fast-changing world, we walk tall – as a nation confidently living within its means.
This budget delivers a surplus, on time, as promised, and surpluses each year after that, strengthening over time.
It funds new cost-of-living relief for Australian families.
It helps businesses invest, compete and adapt to an economy in transition. And it finances bold new policies to help Australians with a disability, the aged, and those who can’t afford dental care.
It does these things for a core Labor purpose: To share the tremendous benefits of the mining boom with more Australians.
To create more wealth, prosperity and jobs; spread more opportunity; and advance the living standards of millions of families and pensioners on modest incomes.
The deficit years of the global recession are behind us. The surplus years are here.
Surpluses built on some difficult savings which avoid vulnerable Australians and frontline services
and don’t compromise our investments in productivity.
Surpluses that provide a buffer against global uncertainty, and continue to give the Reserve Bank room to cut interest rates for families like it did just last week.
Since this government came to office we have stared down a global financial crisis and created more
than three quarters of a million jobs, while weaker economies shed millions of jobs.
Every Australian can be proud we have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the developed world. Economic growth is expected to be stronger than every single major advanced economy over the coming two years.
By mid-2014 our economy is expected to be more than 16 per cent bigger than it was before the global financial crisis, again outstripping the major advanced economies.
Our budget strategy is custom-built for this combination of strengths and for an economy returning to more normal rates of growth.
A surplus provides our best defence against dramatic changes in the global economy.
For too many Australians this feels like someone else’s mining boom. Someone else’s prosperity.
So, from the firm foundations of a surplus budget, we announce new policies to spread the benefits of
These new measures are good for low- and middle-income families because they will help them make ends meet and get ahead.
And it is good for our economy because it will help struggling manufacturers, retailers and other businesses that risk being left behind because of the high dollar.
We understand the pressures Australians face paying for electricity, housing, groceries, petrol or even a simple family outing.
That’s why we’ve gone into bat for working families by providing help with the cost of raising children through our paid parental leave scheme and child care rebate.
That is why families and pensioners are receiving further assistance through higher payments and tax cuts to help transition to a clean energy future.
The government has always been committed to sharing fairly the benefits of the resources boom. And every step of the way we have been opposed by the Coalition.
For example, our company tax cut has been rejected in full by the Liberals and Nationals, and in part
by the Greens.
We will not allow this parliamentary gridlock to deny Australians the benefits they deserve. So in this budget the funds for company tax cuts have been redirected to families in a way that also helps the economy, including small businesses.
At the core of this package is $1.8 billion in extra support for families through more generous payments from July next year.
More than 1.5 million families will benefit from increases to family tax benefit part A, with nearly half taking home an extra $600 a year.
We will also invest $1.1 billion in a supplement of up to $210 a year for students, jobseekers and parents with young children and on income support. Our multi-speed economy is also putting pressure on businesses that aren’t in the fast lanes.
Our $714 million loss carry-back scheme will support businesses in need — to help them compete.
And I am proud to announce funding for the historic first stage of a national disability insurance scheme — the most fundamental social policy reform since Medicare.
An NDIS will ensure people with disabilities get the individual care and support they need. More than 400,000 Australians live with a significant and permanent disability and are among the most deserving of our support. Under this government, they will start to receive it.
This budget commits $1 billion over four years to roll out the first stage of an NDIS, which is expected to cover 10,000 people from 2013-14 and 20,000 people from 2014-15.
Our historic national health reforms will provide an additional $19.8 billion in Commonwealth funding for the nation’s public hospitals by 2019-20.
The budget provides another $101 million to support the government’s skills agenda.
It provides an additional $225 million for the highly successful jobs, education and training childcare fee assistance program, which helps remove barriers for people with young children who want to get back into study or work.
And we’re investing $1.5 billion over five years on a new remote jobs and community program that will provide new employment services for remote Australia.
We’re also delivering in this
budget $54 million to encourage maths and science studies at school and university.
And, over the next four years, we will be investing $38.8 billion in higher education, with extra support for students from poorer backgrounds.
As well as investments in education and training, building a stronger, more competitive and more productive economy requires investments in critical infrastructure.
The national broadband network is transforming our economy, and our $36 billion nation-building programs are improving our road, rail and
In coming years no first-world, first-rate economy will succeed without cleaner sources of energy.
So part of the broader transformation of our economy involves moving to a clean energy future, and helping Australian businesses and households make
The price on carbon pollution that begins this year will only be paid by Australia’s biggest emitters.
It will not be levied on Australian families.
But to help with any price increases, the government is cutting income tax and increasing payments to Australian pensioners, families and recipients of allowances beginning this month.
As well as spreading the benefits of the boom, this budget makes targeted savings to get back to surplus and make room for our priorities.
Of $33.6 billion of savings, about half are reductions in spending.
It’s this fiscal discipline that has earned us a AAA-rating from all three major ratings agencies for the very first time in our history.
This budget supports workers and parents and helps businesses prosper.
It’s why we are boosting super and skills, aged care and dental care — and building an insurance scheme for the nation’s most vulnerable.
All good Labor policies — with one purpose: To create more wealth, and turn our remarkable economic success into a stronger, fairer community as well.