Joe Hockey’s second Budget speech could determine the political fortunes of himself and the entire Abbott Government.
However the Treasurer was buoyant all day when it comes to the most talked-about financial figure – Australia’s deficit.
Bernard Thompson reports.
Joe Hockey was all smiles this morning, despite his Budget Day presser being ambushed by a Year 11 student wanting a ‘selfie’.
Anika Buining, Student: “Thank you so much, good luck with everything tonight.”
Recent economic forecasts had painted a budget deep in the red.
But a rise in iron ore prices could be good news for the budget’s bottom line.
Joe Hockey, Treasurer: “The market expectations are a budget deficit of around $40 – $41 billion. We are going to beat that.”
The budget is designed to boost consumer and business confidence.
It’s tipped small businesses will get a 1.5% tax cut extending to 700,000 businesses, including tradies and sub-contractors.
$3.5 million in childcare reforms will give families an extra $1500, but only if the Senate passes the family tax benefit from last year’s Budget.
Josh Frydenburg, Assistant Treasurer: “We think over 200,000 families will now either enter the workforce or spend longer in the workforce as a result of our measures.”
The trade-off is cuts to Family Tax Benefits.
Access to pensions will be tightened, and a crackdown on Centrelink cheats has been promised.
The budget is also expected to tackle corporate tax avoidance, extending the GST and increasing infrastructure investment.
Joe Hockey, Treasurer: “We are very focused on doing what is right for the Australian people to give people the chance to get ahead.”
For the Coalition everything is riding on the success of tonight’s budget.
And both the Treasurer and P.M. need a knock out blow, if the Government is to win over the public.
Bernard Thompson, QUT News.