Bill Shorten’s Budget Reply Speech May 2015 (Full transcript at bottom)
In response to this….
Joe Hockey hands down May 2015 budget (Full transcript at bottom)
Bill Shorten budget reply speech transcript, May 2015 in full:
May 21, 2014Kieran Barns-Jenkins16 Comments
Bill delivered his Budget Reply speech on May 15. Read below or watch the video here.
Tonight I rise to speak on behalf of millions of Australians who feel shocked and angry.
Shocked by the brutality of this Government’s attack on their way of life.
Angry at a Prime Minister who pretended to be on their side.
This Budget divides our Parliament.
More importantly, it will divide our nation.
The Government says this Budget is just the beginning.
And it is.
The beginning of extreme policies with an extreme impact on the Australian people.
This is just the beginning, turning Australia into a place most of us won’t recognise – a colder, meaner, narrower place.
Losing our sense of fairness and our sense of community.
I believe in a different Australia.
An Australia where your destiny is not pre-determined by your parents’ wealth or your postcode.
A fair and prosperous nation populated by a creative and productive people.
But this is not the Australia we saw reflected in the Budget on Tuesday night.
On Tuesday night we saw the outlines of Tony Abbott’s Australia – an Australia divided into two societies.
This was a ‘tax it or cut it’ Budget.
Millions of Australians now know what Abbott’s Australia will look like:
If you need to see a doctor, you will pay more.
If you need to buy medicine, you will pay more.
If you go to work and earn a good wage, you will pay more.
If you have a family, your support will be cut.
If you lose your job, your support will be cut.
If you are a young person, you will be left behind.
If you rely on a pension, you will be punished.
And if you drive a car, even for that, you will have to pay more.
And if you relied on the Prime Minister’s promises– then you were betrayed.
This is a Budget of broken promises built on lies.
And not just lies; systemic and wilful ones.
A Budget that goes out of its way to create an underclass.
A Budget with the wrong priorities for Australia.
A Budget that confirms the worst fears Australians always had about this Prime Minister.
This is a Budget based on a myth.
And now on the basis of this myth, a manufactured crisis, the Australian people have been ambushed with unconscionable changes.
Where is the decency? Where is the honesty? Where is the humanity in this Government?
For a Prime Minister who campaigned to restore trust in our public life, he has let the country down – and badly.
The Budget papers reveal the economic truth.
Australia is fundamentally strong, and so is the legacy Labor left behind.
Low interest rates
Net debt peaking at just one seventh of the level of the major advanced economies.
A triple-A credit rating with a stable outlook from all three international ratings agencies – one of only eight countries in the world.
Superannuation savings larger than the size of our whole economy
And around a million new jobs created
That’s what we left.
Let’s call the Liberal Budget ‘emergency’ what it is:
An attempt to justify the Abbott Government’s blueprint for a radically different, less fair Australia.
From a Government that see the Australian people not as workers, parents, carers, patients or commuters but as economic units unentitled to respect.
The Australian people have now witnessed this Prime Minister repeatedly promising one thing before an election while doing something completely different after.
Say what you like Prime Minister.
Spin as hard as you can.
Australians know a lie when they hear one.
They can spot a phony when they see one.
And they know when they’ve been deceived.
This Budget underestimates the Australian people.
Australians are up for hard decisions.
But pay them respect, sit down, talk to them, and listen.
No dancing past the hard questions.
What the Australian public expect are consistent structural changes aimed at the medium and long term.
A Budget that invests in the future.
That is, a Budget which points the way to an achievable destination but by a process, anchored in reasonableness.
COST OF LIVING
A nation’s economic confidence begins with the family Budget.
And this is a budget that shows no understanding or respect for around 9 million family budgets.
This is a Budget that will push up the cost of living for every Australian family.
A Budget drawn up by people who have never lived from paycheque to paycheque.
Never sat at the kitchen table with a stack of bills to work out which ones they can put off and which ones have to be paid to avoid being cut off.
People who don’t understand that increasing petrol tax will make the school run, the commute and driving the kids to weekend sport more expensive.
So I say to the Prime Minister, don’t lecture Australian families about hard choices.
Do something to help them make ends meet.
This morning I met with a young family from Queanbeyan.
Karim and Radmilla have two daughters, Isabella aged 4 and Mary Therese aged 8 – and another baby due next week.
Karim is a high school teacher.
Like most Australians, Radmilla and Karim aren’t wealthy – they work hard to make ends meet.
They balance their family budget, but some fortnights are harder than others.
They worry about their washing machine breaking down out of warranty – or paying for new tyres on the family car.
No matter how hard they try, the weekly shop never seems to cost less.
It always seems like less than a month has passed since the last bill landed in the letter box.
And if the Prime Minister gets his way – Radmilla, Karim and hundreds of thousands of Australians like them will be worse off every year.
The Government’s GP tax, the Hospital tax and the increased cost of medicines will cost this family more than $450 per year.
Whenever they fill up their car – they will be slugged at the bowser.
And when Term 3 starts, there will be no more SchoolKids Bonus to help with the costs of new books and new uniforms and shoes for their growing kids.
This Prime Minister’s Budget will smash family budgets across the nation.
NATSEM modelling shows that a couple with a single income of $65,000 and two kids in school will have over $1700 cut from their family budget.
Add in health costs, and the Prime Minister is cutting nearly $40 from their weekly budget, every week.
And under this Budget, the cuts will get deeper and deeper.
More than tripling to almost $120 a week by the time of the next election.
In 2016 this family will suffer cuts of over $6,000 per year.
That’s around one in every ten dollars of the family budget gone.
This is not a Budget shaped by the everyday life of real people.
Medicare –universal access to healthcare – is fundamental to our Australian way of life.
Labor created Medicare because we believe that the health of any one of us is important to all of us.
We are all members of the Australian family and Medicare is, at its core, a family measure.
And with it, we created a new community standard one that is now 40 years old.
We reject a US-style, two-tiered system where your wealth determines your health.
The Prime Minister once claimed he was the best friend that Medicare ever had but this Budget proves he is ideologically opposed to Medicare and its central principle of universality.
The government proposes to establish a $7 GP Tax for visits to a general practitioner.
The justification is that the Medicare system is too expensive and requires greater patient contribution.
Yet the Budget reveals that not one dollar of the GP Tax will be returned to recurrent health spending.
Not one dollar.
The GP tax is being applied simply to break the universality of Medicare.
The kind of thing you would expect from American Tea Party Republicans – not from a Liberal Party formerly committed to Medicare.
And no hypothecation to a future fund – whether medical or otherwise – justifies the measure or the wilful breach of promise it entails.
Taxing the sick won’t heal them.
Making medicine more expensive won’t make us healthier.
Yes, investing in medical research is crucial. All research is crucial.
But you don’t fund the search for the cures of tomorrow by imposing a tax on the patients of today.
Australians are smarter and more generous than this.
But the GP tax does another thing.
It seeks to turn Australian GPs into tax collectors.
To dragoon them into the service of a completely ideological quest – to distract their time and attention from the immediate task of diagnosing and treating their patients.
The Government has forgotten that general practitioners are the front line troops in our constant battle to keep Australians healthy.
Only the government’s general contempt and disregard of them could lead it to impose such a burden on them.
This Parliament has a choice – it is either for or against Medicare.
I give you this commitment Madam Speaker.
Labor will never, never give up on Medicare.
We will fight this wicked and punitive measure to its ultimate end.
In some ways, the worst thing the Treasurer said on Tuesday night didn’t actually come from his speech.
It was concealed in the Budget papers.
Hidden in the papers was a capricious, unconscionable attack upon health and education services.
The Budget papers reveal an $80 billion cut to schools and hospitals – a cut for which there had been no discussion, no forewarning, not a shred of consultation.
And let me repeat, Madam Speaker, the sum, – in case people might have missed the scale of it.
Eighty thousand million, Madam Speaker – or in today’s parlance $80 billion.
$50 billion dollars from hospitals.
$30 billion dollars from schools.
An attack on this scale is unprecedented.
The Treasurer promised to bring forth massive savings, fairly applied.
Instead, in an incompetent and cowardly way, he has outsourced the main burden of his savings task to the States.
How could a collection of States with limited revenue possibly cope with these cuts?
The Treasurer and the Prime Minister have hinted at the answer: a broader and heavier GST.
The Prime Minister and the Treasurer are blackmailing the States with unconscionable cuts to turn them into the Commonwealth’s cat’s paw –
A Trojan Horse to a bigger GST but absolving the Abbott Government of fingerprints or blame.
This is how low this Budget’s formulations have taken us.
Even John Howard was prepared to take his GST to the people and proselytise on it.
But not Tony Abbott or big brave Joe Hockey.
Never before has the scale of such an attack ever been mounted upon the States and never before so underhandedly.
I make clear, Madam Speaker, that we on this side of the House will have no truck with these brutal and cruel cuts to hospitals and schools.
Labor is the party of education.
We are the party that brought the dream of a university degree within reach of all Australians.
We are the party that implemented the Gonski reforms for schools funding based on need.
A $14.7 billion additional investment in Australian schools.
But after this Budget, the Gonski reforms are dead, buried and cremated.
But Labor is committed to making every Australian school a great school.
It was my mother taught me the power of education.
The pathway that it can provide.
My mum was a teacher, winning a teaching scholarship in the early 1950s.
She taught in city and country government schools. She travelled the world, she raised a family.
And then studied again later in life.
Mum never stopped being a teacher.
She taught my twin brother and I everything.
She taught me the value of education.
Like all parents, what Chloe and I want for our children is a quality education.
What separates Labor from the Liberals is: we want a quality education for all Australians.
Because it is Australia’s productivity that will determine how we fare in the 21st Century.
When I was at school there were 7.5 taxpayers to support each Australian aged 65 years or older.
When our daughter was born in 2009, that ratio was five to one.
By 2050 it will be only 2.7 to one.
Labor knows the only answer to this challenge is to make the right investments in skills and productivity.
Only through education will Australia fully develop our economic potential, our scientific potential, our artistic potential – our people’s potential.
That is why the Prime Minister’s $5 billion cuts to Higher education are so destructive.
Cuts that mark the end of Australia’s fair and equitable higher education system.
Cuts that bring down the curtain on the Whitlam university legacy.
The legacy that gave Australians like Dr Cathy Foley, Astronomer Bryan Gaensler and author Tim Winton the chance to go to University.
The legacy that gave Tony Abbott – and at least 12 members of his Cabinet the same opportunity.
An opportunity that they now seek to deny the next generation of young Australians.
This Prime Minister’s cuts to higher education sell-out Australian genius and reject Australian potential.
Labor will vote against these cuts to university funding and student support.
Labor will not support a system of higher fees, bigger student debt, reduced access and greater inequality.
We will never tell Australians that the quality of their education depends on their capacity to pay.
PENSIONS AND SUPERANNUATION
Just as we will never tell pensioners to tighten their belts, again and again.
This Prime Minister sees pensioners as a burden to the Budget.
Labor rejects this.
Labor believes that Australians who have worked hard all their lives, who have paid taxes all their lives – and if lucky, have a humble family home – have earned a dignified and secure retirement.
Pensioners should not have to worry about whether or not they can afford to put on their heating, visit their doctor or buy a treat for their grandkids.
Let’s be clear: the aged pension is not a king’s ransom.
It is a modest sum.
$20,000 a year.
The reforms introduced by Labor guarantee the pension keeps pace with the cost of living.
If the Prime Minister’s pension cuts had been in place for the last four years – today pensioners would be at least $1700 worse off.
The Prime Minister’s breach of trust with pensioners isn’t just breaking a promise he made before the last election.
He is breaking a promise Australia made with our fellow citizens forty and fifty years ago.
At the start of their working life.
A promise that if they worked hard and made a contribution, the nation would look after them in their old age.
This Prime Minister’s cuts trespass against the nation’s covenant with pensioners.
This Prime Minister’s lies and broken promises hurt every generation of Australians.
Pensioners, and their sons and daughters, who are worried about the quality of life for their ageing parents.
I make this solemn pledge to Australia’s pensioners.
Labor will not surrender the security of your retirement.
We will fight for a fair pension.
And Labor will prevail.
This Government’s failure to plan for the needs of older Australians is not just a problem for those currently on the aged pension.
The Prime Minister and the Treasurer should not harangue Australians about working til they’re 70.
If their only plan is for Australians to work longer and harder and retire later, with less.
I have spent my adult life representing the people who do the real heavy lifting: tradespeople, labourers, cleaners, nurses and other Australians who make a living with skilled hands and strong backs.
Many of them started work at 15 – don’t force them to work til they’re 70.
Rather, empower Australian workers to save for retirement is so important.
Labor wants Australia to have the world’s best retirement savings system.
This Prime Minister wants Australia to have the world’s oldest retirement age.
And in this Budget the Government continues to target the retirement savings of all Australians.
The Abbott Government has cut superannuation– another broken promise.
It means more Australians will be reliant on a pension in the future.
As Minister, I moved legislation in this parliament to raise super from 9 to 12 per cent.
And reduced taxation on the modest superannuation contributions of Australians who earn $37,000 or less in a year.
Yet one of the first acts of this Government was to abolish Labor’s Low Income Super Contribution.
This was a cowardly raid on the retirement savings of 3.6 million low-income earners.
Two thirds of those hurt by this change were women – who had moved in and out of the workforce to start and raise a family.
How can this Prime Minister think it’s OK to pay multi-millionaires $50,000 that they don’t need.
And yet rob the retirement savings of over two million women who earn less than that in a whole year?
Prime Minister –how can you not see how unfair this is?
Labor believes every Australian should be able to find good and fulfilling jobs with decent pay and conditions in productive and profitable enterprises.
But for Australians under 30 who are looking for work, this Budget offers no hope.
It offers despair.
It offers poverty.
It offers no plan for jobs.
Prime Minister – where is your plan for jobs?
The changes to Newstart are perhaps the single most heartless measure in this brutal Budget.
Sentencing young people to a potentially endless cycle of poverty when they should be getting a hand to find a job.
Is just a blame-shifting, cost-shifting measure that will put the price of unemployment on to Australian families.
Prime Minister, how are people under 30 looking for work supposed to survive for six months on nothing?
These are purely ideological changes that go to the very core of the Prime Minister’s character.
They contradict every piece of expert advice.
This Prime Minister’s vicious, victim-blaming policy will create a forgotten generation of Australians – shut out of the workforce.
Labor will have no part of this.
Australia does not have a budget emergency, as the Government claims, but it has a budget task.
And that task, in the face of declining terms of trade and lower nominal income, is to change and reconfigure the Budget’s trajectory.
To, over time, make certain that the combination and influences of Commonwealth spending and Commonwealth revenue come together to reduce the Government’s call on national savings.
In short, Madam Speaker, to make our national budget sustainable.
But make it sustainable in a fair and reasonable way.
And why is this so important?
Because the Budget supports and needs to support large numbers of dependent people, as it does families on modest incomes, and as it must, on schools and health.
The Budget always needs a balance in its imposition on incomes, the contribution of companies, the incidence of its excises and those expenditures which underpin us as a civil society.
Indeed, I believe, as a great social democracy.
Labor has always held to these precepts.
This is the kind of thoughtful responsibility I subscribe to.
Recognising what needs to be done and going about the job of doing it.
But this is not the framework this government has adopted.
It is walking away from this kind of balance.
This Budget is designed to change the essential compact of Australian society.
It is conservatism taking it up to consensus – tugging away at the very struts that have held us together as a good and prosperous nation.
This Opposition will support reasonable and balanced remedial budgetary measures but it will not support the conscious development of an underclass.
This is a Budget that would seek to demolish the pillars of Australian society: universal Medicare, education for all, a fair pension, full employment.
The very things this Prime Minister promised not to touch, are the first casualties of his fabrications.
Including new and higher taxes.
This is the Budget of a Prime Minister and a Government who want to tear down everything Australians have built together.
By contrast, Labor invests in our people to make our country stronger.
Labor cares for all.
Labor believes in an Australia writ large.
We believe that economic growth comes from extending opportunity.
We believe in a prosperous Australia: prosperity for everyone who works and prosperity which works for everyone.
An Australia where your Medicare card – not your credit card – guarantees you access to quality healthcare.
An Australia where the National Disability Insurance Scheme is a reality for people with disability, their carers and the people who love them – not a scapegoat for complaints about spending.
Labor believes that a teenager in a regional town should be studying in a great school – and have the choice of a university education, learning a trade or taking up a rewarding job.
We believe that science and innovation should be at the heart of national policy – because they are central to our prosperity.
We believe in an Australia where small business can grow and thrive.
An Australia that still makes things.
An Australia with quality infrastructure – including digital infrastructure.
An Australia where women are equal – and pays them equally.
An Australia that is closing the gap and extending opportunities for the first Australians.
Labor believes in an Australia that cares for its environment – and takes the science of climate change seriously.
An Australia where multiculturalism is celebrated as a social and economic asset – not treated as sport for bigots and ideologues.
An Australia that is a good global citizen, confident and engaged with the opportunities of the Asian Century.
An Australia ready for the future, optimistic about the future and investing in the future.
This Prime Minister and this Treasurer, talk a lot about the freedom of the market, deregulating and liberating.
Of course, you can get rid of fairness and leave people to fend for themselves.
That is a kind of freedom.
Tonight I say to Australians there is another freedom.
There is the freedom of integrity and the freedom of respect.
The freedom that gives every person dignity and the right to be treated equally.
There is a freedom of compassion and respect that gives individuals the opportunity to fulfil their potential.
That is the freedom I believe in.
This Budget undermines that freedom.
This Budget weakens it.
This Budget tears at the living standards of our people.
And in doing so, this Budget tears at the fabric of our country.
On Tuesday, the Treasurer quoted from Robert Menzies’ ‘Forgotten People’.
But the Government forgot a lot of people on Budget night.
They are the Australians I speak on behalf of tonight, the Australians I am speaking to.
The Government forgot you in its Budget – and it forgot what makes our country great.
It forgot opportunity.
It forgot reward for effort.
It forgot the fair go.
Well, Labor hasn’t forgotten.
We still believe in fairness.
We still believe in an Australia that includes everyone, that helps everyone, that lets everyone be their best, that leaves no-one behind.
This is the Australia that the Prime Minister has forgotten.
And it is the Australia that Labor will always fight for.
If you want an election, try us.
If you think we are too weak – bring it on.
But remember – it is not about you or I Prime Minister.
It is about the future of our nation and the wellbeing of our people.
Joe Hockey’s budget May 2015 transcript
Joe Hockey MP
Madam Speaker, I move that the Bill for the 2015 Budget now be read a second time.
Tonight I am speaking directly to you the people of Australia.
I want to inform you of the next steps in the Government’s plan to strengthen our nation’s economy.
As we all know over the past twelve months, Australia has had to deal with its fair share of challenges.
We have stared down terrorist events in Sydney and Melbourne.
We have had to deal with a terrible drought in Queensland and New South Wales.
On the economic front, iron ore prices have fallen dramatically and the recovery in the global economy has been weaker than expected.
But I say to you, the economic plan laid down by this Government more than a year ago, is in place and it is helping us to deal with these challenges.
Through careful planning we are successfully navigating the difficult transition from a mining investment boom, to one of broader‑based growth across our economy.
In the past 12 months we have coped well with weaker than expected global demand, lower commodity prices and falling revenue.
Even in the face of the largest fall in our terms of trade in half a century, which has contributed to a significant fall in tax receipts, our economic plan has helped Australia to have one of the fastest growing economies in the developed world.
I can report tonight that despite the headwinds, our timetable back to a Budget surplus is unchanged from last year.
We inherited $123 billion of deficits when we came to office. We have now brought that down to $82 billion over the next 4 years.
This is despite the fact that we have lost $90 billion in expected tax revenue over the same period.
A $40 billion improvement in the bottom line is good, but we need to do more.
On a daily basis we borrow $96 million just to pay our bills, which is down from the $133 million a day that we inherited when we came to Government.
So today we have taken steps to continue repairing the Budget with sensible savings and a prudent approach to spending. We are redirecting funding to areas, such as small business, child care and infrastructure, which will boost growth and create jobs.
At the same time we have been repairing the Budget, we have overseen a strengthening of growth in employment, housing construction, retail trade and exports.
This is not an accident.
Since we came to Government, we have abolished job‑destroying taxes like the carbon tax and the mining tax.
We have helped create a quarter of a million new jobs and there are more to come … a lot more.
We have abolished 50,000 pages of regulation and red tape which was costing our economy nearly two and a half billion dollars a year.
We are rolling out the biggest infrastructure programme in Australia’s history, with new road and freight corridors being built right across the country.
We have helped to bring down the cost of living — Australians today are paying less for their electricity and less on their mortgages.
I say again, our economic plan is working, and things are getting better.
A lower Australian dollar is now providing a boost to sectors like manufacturing in South Australia and Victoria, and tourism and education in Queensland.
On election night, the Prime Minister declared that Australia was back open for business. His words have been proven true. Since then we have seen a significant increase in approved foreign investment applications in Australia, up 23 per cent in the past year alone.
The world has expressed its growing confidence in Australia’s economic future. I too share that optimism.
This Budget is the next step in our economic plan.
This Budget empowers small business to invest, grow and create jobs.
This Budget gives Australians the opportunity and freedom to participate in the workforce — no matter what their circumstances.
This Budget continues to implement our plan to build new roads, new rail and new infrastructure that will generate new growth opportunities across all parts of Australia, from our cities to regional areas, from Tasmania to our northern frontier.
A GREAT ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY
Madam Speaker, the global economy is turning for the better.
The United States is back to near full employment, Europe is looking a little stronger, and Japan is finally starting to grow.
And our biggest trading partner, China, continues to grow at nearly 7 per cent, despite a recent slowdown.
With more than 1.3 billion consumers living in China, the demand for our exports will continue to grow.
For every dollar we spend buying Chinese goods and services, the Chinese spend two dollars buying our goods and services.
We are the big winners out of this relationship.
Each year we send enough iron ore to China to build the Sydney Harbour Bridge, from Sydney to Perth, and then back to Sydney again.
And in the next five years we will become the world’s largest exporter of Liquefied Natural Gas. Together with our annual exports of coal, this is enough energy to power Tokyo, Singapore and Mumbai for an entire year.
And while prices are lower, and we wish they were higher, the opportunities from Asia for our resources are enormous.
People ask me where are the future jobs going to come from. Well consider this, if we could lift our service exports like higher education, tourism, health care and financial services, to just half the level of our commodity exports, it would add $50 billion to our economy each and every year.
That’s why, in order to open that door, we are investing $6 billion in new trade agreements with China, Korea and Japan. And we are expanding that to India, which is the fastest growing economy in the world, but still a very small trading partner of Australia.
Australian based businesses, exporting our own home grown skills, in everything from advanced manufacturing to services, will be the big new drivers of wealth creation and job creation over the next decade.
This is the growth opportunity that Australia has been patiently waiting for, and it is here and it is available now.
So as part of our economic plan we need to do more to help business, particularly small business, take advantage of these opportunities.
ENERGISING SMALL BUSINESS
Madam Speaker, I like so many of my colleagues, grew up in a small business family.
That small business put a roof over our heads. It paid the bills. It gave all of the family a chance at a better life.
Small business is often a family business. A business of brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, cousins, parents and children. And for those who work in a small business, who are not related, well they often become family.
Our future growth will come from growing small business into big business.
Every big company in the world started small.
Every big idea in the world came from just one person, or a handful of people working together.
That is why tonight, I am announcing a package of measures that will make a genuine and permanent difference to small business in Australia.
To start, every small business will get a tax cut. We are giving you back more of your own money.
From 1 July this year, small companies with annual turnover of less than $2 million will have their tax rate lowered, from 30 per cent to 28 and a half per cent.
This is the lowest small business company tax rate in almost 50 years.
Most small businesses are not run as companies. So we will also give an annual 5 per cent tax discount of up to $1,000 a year for unincorporated businesses.
We are the only Government that will deliver tax cuts for small business because we want small business to grow and employ more Australians.
But we recognise that small business, in order to succeed, needs better cash flow and better tools for innovation as well.
So I announce, that from 7:30pm tonight, small business can claim an immediate tax deduction for each and every item they purchase up to $20,000.
From tonight, it can be instantly written off to reduce your tax liability.
And this will benefit the 96 per cent of Australian businesses — more than 2 million of them — that have a turnover of less than $2 million a year.
This will be of enormous benefit to their bottom line and help businesses with their cash flow.
It means innovation.
It means jobs.
It means more money to invest and grow your business.
If you run a café, it might be new kitchen equipment, or new tables and chairs.
If you’re a tradie, it might be new tools or a computer for the home office.
Cars and vans, kitchens or machinery … anything under $20,000 is immediately 100 per cent tax deductible from tonight.
We also want Australians to start a new business, and we want them to grow.
Because new businesses create new jobs.
That is why we will ease the financial strain by allowing business owners to immediately deduct the costs incurred when starting up a new business, or receive tax relief when restructuring their existing business.
In addition, we are expanding the tax concessions for Employee Share Schemes, to make it easier for small start‑up companies to attract the skills and talent they need to grow.
Unlike the old system, under the old government, employees won’t have to pay tax on their shares until they actually receive a financial benefit from those shares.
This is great for workers and it is great for innovative start‑ups.
And to help small business grow, we are facilitating new opportunities for crowd‑source funding, making it easier for small investors to marry up with growing small businesses.
And in a further new policy initiative which is just common sense in the digital age, we are abolishing Fringe Benefits Tax on all portable electronic devices used for work, like mobile phones, laptops and tablets.
We need to keep up with developments in the new digital economy. Accordingly the Government is investing $255 million to make your dealings with the Tax Office, Centrelink, Medicare, and other government agencies easier, simpler and faster.
FARMERS AND REGIONAL COMMUNITIES
Madam Speaker, in many ways farmers are the most resilient of all Australians and they are also our best environmentalists.
They have to deal with the varied conditions of a big land, fierce global trade and ever increasing competition.
At the moment, we have parts of our country that remain in drought. As such, we are committing over $300 million to help them get through these tough times.
Equally important, as part of our economic plan, we need to start preparing for the droughts beyond today.
So all farmers will get an immediate tax deduction for new investment in water facilities, and a three‑year depreciation allowance for all capital expenditure on fodder storage assets.
In addition, all farmers will be able to fully deduct the cost of new fencing from their tax bill. This initiative will help to improve productivity and environmental management of the land.
Over the next few weeks, after further discussion with farmers, we will be releasing more details about our plans to strengthen agricultural production across Australia.
INVESTING IN THE FUTURE
Madam Speaker, this is a Budget that unleashes our nation’s potential.
An extraordinary area of untapped promise is Australia’s North. This is an exciting frontier for economic development that is filled with abundant resources and talented people.
Its tropical climate is shared with two thirds of the world’s population, and of course it’s closer to our key trading markets than any other part of our country.
But the North needs new infrastructure to get things moving. We need to build in order to grow.
I announce tonight a new $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility which is the first major step in our plan for our great North.
We will partner with the private sector and governments of Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland, to provide large concessional loans for the construction of ports, pipelines, electricity and water infrastructure that will open our Northern frontier for business.
This commitment to nation building adds to the record $50 billion in transport infrastructure we announced in last year’s Budget. Infrastructure that is now, as I speak, under construction.
Through this new investment we are laying down strong foundations to get Australia ready for its economic future.
FAMILIES AND CHILD CARE
Madam Speaker, a nation that lives as a family must help to strengthen and support all of its families.
Next year we will spend $38 billion to support families, which includes more than $7 billion on child care.
Australian parents work hard to juggle the demands of modern life.
It is a difficult balancing act.
Just weeks after coming to Government in 2013, I initiated a Productivity Commission inquiry into child care. Since that time, we have consulted widely and as a result we are allocating an additional $3.5 billion to reform the child care system.
We want to give parents a choice about work, and by investing this money we are responding to the demands of 165,000 parents who want to work more, but are prevented from doing so by the current costly and complex scheme.
Our reforms will make the system simpler, and ensure child care is more affordable, accessible and flexible.
Madam Speaker, this Government knows there are many Australians who want a job and can’t get one. As part of our economic plan, we are doing more to help.
The level of youth unemployment in Australia is too high.
So tonight I announce this Government will invest more than $330 million to help young and disadvantaged Australians get their start.
This will include a new $212 million Youth Transition to Work programme that will fund community workers, on the ground, in high youth unemployment areas.
Furthermore, there will be an additional $106 million of intensive support trials for job seekers of all ages, who are facing the most significant barriers to employment.
We are also improving the national work experience programme so that 6,000 people can get genuine work experience in a real workplace.
Whether you are young or old and no matter where you live, we want all Australians to have the opportunity to get a job and stay in a job.
This Budget will have a $1.2 billion National Wage Subsidy pool to target long‑term unemployment. Following consultations across the community, we are reshaping the pool, including the Restart programme for older workers, to ensure that the subsidies are available when and where they are most needed.
A BETTER RETIREMENT
Madam Speaker, I want to reassure all Australian workers they can have confidence in their retirement plans.
There will be no new taxes on superannuation under this Government.
And the Age Pension will continue to increase, twice a year, this year, and every year — at the highest available indexation rate.
The Age Pension is our Budget’s biggest item of expenditure, $44 billion a year. This is more than 10 per cent of all government spending.
The Age Pension is a critically important safety net for many Australians.
That is why as our population ages, we need to ensure the pension is sustainable and affordable.
So from 1 January 2017, we will make changes that benefit pensioners with fewer assets beyond the family home. But we will also tighten eligibility for those pensioners with higher levels of assets.
Importantly anyone who currently has a Pensioner Concession Card will continue to receive a concession card that provides the same benefits, such as subsidised utilities and transport, bulk billing and cheaper PBS prescription medicines.
These measures are all intended to provide security and certainty for older Australians in the years ahead.
A STRONGER HEALTH SYSTEM
Madam Speaker, we are building a stronger and more sustainable health system.
The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme has, for over 60 years, given Australians affordable and reliable access to a wide range of drugs.
In this Budget, the Government continues its commitment to new listings on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, at a total cost of $1.6 billion.
To give you one example, around 1,000 people will now benefit each year from subsidised access to better treatments for certain types of melanoma. Some of these treatments have until now, cost up to $131,000 per course of therapy. Now they are accessible for all Australians.
It is however not enough to subsidise existing drugs.
We need to find the next generation of treatments and cures.
Last year I announced the creation of the Medical Research Future Fund, which will become the biggest medical research endowment fund in the world. Starting this year, and over the next four years, the Government will distribute $400 million from the Fund, to help our best and brightest medical researchers develop the drugs and cures for the future.
KEEPING AUSTRALIANS SAFE
Madam Speaker, the highest responsibility of any government is the safety and security of its citizens.
When it comes to national security, there can be no shortcuts.
This year we will commit a further $1.2 billion to make Australia safe and secure. This builds on the $1 billion of extra funding we committed last year.
This is an essential investment for our nation and it is working.
As we know from events as recent as last weekend, the more work we do, the more likely we can prevent tragic incidents from happening in our community.
The threat of terrorism is rising and ever evolving and our response must be swift and uncompromising.
We must have the best counter‑terrorism capabilities possible.
Tonight the Government is committing an extra $450 million for our intelligence capabilities, to ensure that we have the very best equipment and skills necessary to keep our communities safe.
Overseas, our military personnel are leading the fight against terrorism.
The Government is providing $750 million for military operations this year, including our efforts to disrupt, degrade and ultimately destroy D’aesh in Iraq.
To help pay for this, our tough stand on border protection is delivering a dividend.
Our border protection policies have stopped the boats and they have saved lives. As a result, we are saving more than $500 million from closing unnecessary detention centres and we are saving on the costs of processing new boat arrivals.
LEVELLING THE PLAYING FIELD
Madam Speaker, fairness is essential to the integrity of our taxation system.
So I say to all Australians, rather than introducing new taxes on you, we simply want people or companies who are avoiding their tax to pay their fair share.
As a result of Tax Office investigations we have identified 30 large multinational companies that may have diverted profits away from Australia to avoid paying their fair share of tax in Australia.
Everyday Australians rightly believe that if a dollar of profit is earned here, then you should pay tax here.
Unfortunately this is not always the case for some multinationals. Many have the capacity to aggressively minimise their tax.
What that means, is that families and small businesses are forced to carry more than their fair share of the tax burden.
Tonight I am releasing the details of a new Multinational Anti‑Avoidance Law, that will stop multinationals using complex schemes to escape paying tax.
Under this new law, when we catch companies cheating, they will have to pay back double what they owe, plus interest.
In addition, it is unfair that overseas based businesses selling services into Australia may not charge GST when local businesses have to charge GST.
A local business that employs Australians, pays rent in Australia, pays tax in Australia, and helps build our economy is disadvantaged by the current system.
We will level the playing field for Australian businesses by mandating that foreign businesses supplying digital products and services are subject to the GST.
Madam Speaker, tonight I am also tabling for Parliament’s consideration a second Bill that directly addresses this issue.
Everything we spend in this Budget is being paid for by prudent savings in other areas.
We don’t want to increase taxes on Australians, but we do want everyone to pay their fair share along the way.
In this Budget, we are amending the Zone Tax Offset so that it is only available to those who have genuinely moved to specified remote areas, saving $325 million.
We are limiting Fringe Benefits Tax entitlements on overly generous meal and entertainment expenses, capping them at $5,000 a year per person, saving $295 million.
And anyone on a working holiday in Australia will have to pay tax from their first dollar earned, rather than enjoying a tax‑free threshold of nearly $20,000. This will save the Budget $540 million.
And the need for fairness and a level playing field applies in other areas.
We are making changes to strengthen Australia’s foreign investment framework by introducing a new fee regime, better enforcement and stricter penalties. This will deliver $735 million of revenue to the Budget.
These integrity measures protect those who are doing the right thing.
They promote trust.
And they’re all part of responsible budgeting.
Madam Speaker, as I said last year, the debt and deficit mess that we inherited was not of our making, but we have taken positive action that is delivering results.
Australia’s budget position is getting stronger each and every year.
From a $48 billion deficit we inherited, to $35 billion next year, down to a $7 billion deficit in another three years’ time.
And over the same period, we are reducing the size of government as a share of the economy.
Of course there is more work to be done on Budget repair. Every nation must live within its means, and Australia is no different.
But we cannot tax our way to prosperity. And we must continue to look for sensible savings.
When we invest taxpayer money, we must do so with great care.
Despite the iron ore price having halved, we are still on a clear and credible path back to surplus and gross debt in a decade will be over $110 billion lower than what we inherited.
Madam Speaker, this Budget is responsible, measured and fair.
We are creating opportunities for job seekers, young and old.
We are caring for our most vulnerable.
And we are keeping the country safe and secure.
This is a Budget for small business people who want to innovate and grow.
This is a Budget for young people wanting to get a foot in the door.
This is a Budget for parents juggling the complexities of modern life.
This is a Budget as much for the miners of the Pilbara, as it is for the farmers in the Mallee. It is as much for a family in Brisbane, as it is for a start‑up business in Adelaide.
This is a Budget that helps build a stronger, safer and more prosperous Australia.
Madam Speaker, I believe our nation’s best days are ahead of us. So now is the time for all Australians to get out there and have a go.