Defence spending has been slashed and there was no mention of the carbon tax but Treasurer Wayne Swan says his fourth Federal Budget will create a ‘bigger and better’ workforce.

Mental health, training and workforce participation are amongst the big winners of this year’s budget.

Grace Duckham reports


There was good news and bad news in last night’s Federal Budget delivered by the Australian treasurer.

Despite a $50 billion deficit this year, Wayne Swan says he’s managed to find a way for Australia to save money.

But it will come at a cost.

While the defence budget has taken a hit to the tune of $1.1 billion the government says it’s helping those who need it the most. Low income families will receive a boost to their pay, but the Families Benefit Tax has been cut.

Wayne Swan, Federal Treasurer: “There are people who do not benefit there are people who lose something in this budget.”

Wayne Swan says a ‘tough’ approach will deliver $22 billion in long term savings.

The government predicts the economy to continue to grow, unemployment rates to fall but inflation will rise in order to combat rising interest rates.

While that’s all speculative what is certain is the boost to mental health.

The government will inject more than $2 billion into mental health organisations over a five year period.

This budget was tagged as the one to deliver on jobs and solve the skilled labour shortage. They’ve thrown $360 million to that cause in an effort to deliver 100,000 training places.

Regional Australia may see their work forces increased with a plan to push skilled migrants away from the major cities.

The government’s counting on a $100 million boost to vocational education and apprentice training to bolster the Australian workforce.

Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia: “The economy is hungry for workers and I don’t want Australians left behind.”

Opposition treasurer Joe Hockey says the federal budget lacks focus.

Joe Hockey, Shadow Treasurer: “Out of last night I don’t know what direction it is the government wants to set. I think it was a bit confused and I don’t feel confident they know where they want to go.”

The Government will want to go Parliament to have the budget passed but the opposition has its right of reply tomorrow night.

Grace Duckham, QUT News.