Band-Aid on a bullet wound: Dutton expected to reject subsidies in Budget response

Peter Dutton is expected to reject manufacturing subsidies worth billions of dollars in his response to the federal budget.

May 16, 2024, updated May 16, 2024
Opposition leader Peter Dutton. (ABC Photo)

Opposition leader Peter Dutton. (ABC Photo)

The opposition leader will on Thursday deliver the coalition’s position on the Albanese government’s 2024/25 budget.

Production tax credits worth $13.7 billion for hydrogen and critical minerals, the centrepiece of Labor’s Future Made in Australia plan, will likely be opposed.

Mr Dutton on Wednesday said the coalition would support the government’s $300 energy bill rebates for Australian households.

But the coalition’s frontbenchers have criticised the lack of means testing for the cost-of-living relief, questioning why those at the top end of town were also receiving handouts.

They have also lashed Labor for what they say is a failure to properly get to the heart of the issue, which is persistent inflation.

Shadow treasurer Angus Taylor likened the relief provided by the government to “putting a Band-Aid on a bullet wound”.

Economists have warned the budget spending could be inflationary and heap pressure on the Reserve Bank to keep interest rates higher for longer.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said means testing the energy bill relief would have taken effort and time to achieve.

“We’re trying to provide cost-of-living relief to people who are under pressure throughout middle Australia,” he told The Project on Wednesday.

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“Rather than design a completely new system to provide this help, the most efficient way to do it was to do it broadly.”

While Labor powers on with the renewable energy transition, Mr Dutton has said communities would be consulted about adopting nuclear energy.

He believes nuclear energy should play a central role in Australia’s path to reducing emissions, with renewables also being a part of the nation’s energy mix.

Mr Dutton has previously said he does not believe Australia should place all its eggs in one basket and rely on one energy source.

The coalition has also pushed for Australians to be allowed to use their superannuation to buy a home.

The proposal has been criticised by the super industry, which has commissioned modelling showing allowing people to raid their retirement funds would cost the budget billions.

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