Treasurer Josh Frydenberg foreshadowed a big-spending Federal Budget “to secure Australia’s recovery” and continue to “keep Australians safe” as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage around the globe.
Arriving at Parliament this morning ahead of unveiling the Morrison Government’s blueprint for the next four years, Mr Frydenberg said the Budget would contain record commitments to “essential services” while also providing “incentives to businesses to do what they do best — hire, innovate and to grow”.
Components of the Morrison Government’s fiscal agenda have already been revealed — including $2 billion for suicide prevention, $1.7 billion to slash childcare fees for families with multiple children and $17.7 billion over the next four years to improve aged care.
WA will also receive $1.3 billion in new cash for road and rail projects, while a $1.2 billion “contingent liability” will remain in the Budget for the construction or Roe 8 and 9 – should the WA Government choose to pursue it.
“Tonight’s budget will see record commitments on essential services, disability support, mental health, aged care and women’s safety,” Mr Frydenberg said.
“Australia’s strong position today is not the result of luck. Australia makes its own luck.
“And tonight’s budget will lay out the Morrison Government’s economic plan to secure Australia’s recovery.”
The Budget is not expected to forecast the return of international travel until well into 2022, although Mr Frydenberg this morning refused to provide a more definite timeframe.
“We make some assumptions around vaccine rollout and around border closures and around the containment measure that is are put in place in respect to COVID-19 but it’s very hard to be precise in the middle of a pandemic,” he said.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty, globally and domestically with respect to the virus but the key point is we’ll always follow the medical advice and we’ll always do our best to keep Australians safe.”
The Treasurer said the Budget would also contain additional funding for the National Disability Insurance Scheme — which some experts have forecast will soon cost more than Medicare.
“This is a wonderful program. It’s made a profound change to lives of Australians with disabilities and their families,” Mr Frydenberg said.
“We all know stories of people who have been assisted by the NDIS, and under the Coalition, the NDIS will always be fully funded.
“We need to ensure that it continues to remain sustainable, but under the Coalition, we are deeply committed to the NDIS and we’ll always ensure that it is fully funded.”