Australian federal budget

There has been a strong reaction across the board to the Australian budget from 14 May.  Quoting from the NZ Herald , here are a few of the key points as we see them:

  • Prime Minister Tony Abbott has chosen a high-risk path.  In the Senate, Labor, the Greens and mining magnate Clive Palmer’s Palmer United Party – which will hold the balance of power there after July – will also vote against key measures.
  • Abbott’s claims that the Government was faced with a budget and debt emergency have been dismissed almost universally.  Commonwealth debt is among the lowest in the OECD, the deficit is considered a medium-term problem rather than a crisis, and all three major international credit-rating agencies have given Australia an AAA pass.
  • The Budget has also been slammed for cuts to family benefits.  Labor frontbencher Jenny Macklin said that, combined with GP charges and the fuel excise hike, a single-income family with two children earning less than A$50,000 a year would have almost A$5000 slashed from their income.
  • The housing industry and the poor will be hit by the end of Labor’s national rental affordability scheme to provide cheap housing. Real fears are held for the young unemployed – already facing high jobless rates – by changes that will restrict or deny dole payments.
  • Finance Minister Hockey has made it clear this was just the start, with more cuts to come.

For a concise and user-friendly way to see the main points, visit the Australian ABC news site .