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Cheaper energy and medicines; business and households the big winners in Budget

The federal government’s cost-of-living package will add up to more than $14 billion over four years as speculation intensifies about an across-the-board JobSeeker boost.

 

May 08, 2023, updated May 08, 2023
Treasurer Jim Chalmers in Canberra where he delivered the 2022 Federal Budget. Households and small businesses ae expected to be the big winners this year. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

Treasurer Jim Chalmers in Canberra where he delivered the 2022 Federal Budget. Households and small businesses ae expected to be the big winners this year. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

The heavily promoted budget package will include energy price relief, expected to flow to 5.5 million households and one million businesses.

Investments in cheaper medicines and tax incentives for electrification and energy efficiency upgrades will also fall under the total $14.6b over four years, targeting acute cost-of-living pressures.

More government plans to support households and businesses through the period of sky-high inflation will be unveiled in the budget on Tuesday night.

Jobseekers will be looking for a boost to income support payments following reports the government has locked in a $40-a-fortnight boost.

The latest reports follow speculation last week that any uplift would be limited to over-55s.

The Greens have already taken aim at the possibility of a $40-a-fortnight increase that would equate to a “paltry” extra $2.85 a day.

The government has also managed to find $17.8b in budget savings and shifted spending, with the finance minister accusing the former coalition government of “tricky budgeting tactics and dishonesty”.

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The savings include $7.8b in re-prioritisations already outlined as part of the Defence Strategic Review.

Finance Minister Katy Gallagher said the cost of living relief was a “significant package” in scale and reach.

“This is a very strong budget in terms of support for vulnerable Australians … to investing in the future and also putting the budget on a more sustainable footing going forward,” she told ABC News on Monday.

Asked about the reprioritisation of money, Senator Gallagher said the government’s approach had not been to “slash, cut and burn” but to target funding to address future needs and pressures.

Over the weekend, changes to the petroleum resources rent tax were also announced that, if enshrined into legislation, would bring in an extra $2.4b over four years.

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