POLITICS

Budget 2017: How The Government Will Look To Spend Your Money

Here’s what we know so far.

08/05/2017 9:21 PM AEST | Updated 09/05/2017 3:38 PM AEST

CANBERRA -- The biggest annual day in the political calendar is finally upon us: Budget Day 2017.

Your well-earned tax dollars are about to find a home in a column or two of the Turnbull Government's books. And the red ink will be used.

All eyes will be on where the multi-billion dollar figure for the deficit lands -- currently at $36.5 billion (MYEFO) -- and if the projected date for return to surplus, reported in December to be 2020-21 (MYEFO), is delayed again.

Scott Morrison's second Budget is one of those first budgets after a federal election. These sort of budgets are usually tough. But all evidence suggests the Coalition has finally learnt from the disastrous, heavy-handed Abbott/Hockey Budget from 2014. So unpopular and still difficult to sell three years after it was delivered, the Coalition now appears ready to dump measures stuck in a hostile Senate.

Behind in the polls, the Government is also trying counter the Federal Opposition in Labor's traditionally strong areas of health and education.

Here's what we know.

The Treasurer is framing the Budget for struggling families and will address cost of living pressures. And he has said the Budget won't "tickle the ears of ideologues".

Morrison also confirmed the government would stick to its rule that any new spending should be offset by savings.

He is also "mindful of the political environment" in the Senate.

Deficit

Australia has been in deficit since the Global Financial Crisis hit in 2008 and there will be an update to the projection on the Budget balance.

According to Deloitte Access Economic spending is up, and the Treasurer is dealing with stagnant wages, lacklustre job growth and volatile iron ore prices.

The Budget papers are being changed in presentation in 2017 so they show the difference between what the Government is now calling 'good and bad' debt. Income-earning infrastructure is "good", spending on welfare, health and education is "bad".

The Treasurer has confirmed the government is finally jettisoning the remaining "zombie" savings measures from the Abbott-Hockey 2014 budget.

Infrastructure

The Turnbull Government has announced it will pay for and build the controversial Western Sydney airport at Badgery's Creek.

The Turnbull Government has agreed to re-direct $1.2 billion in Federal funds previously allocated to the now cancelled Perth Freight Link.

Inland rail construction is expected to get an allocation of more than $1 billion.

National Security

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) will receive an additional $321.4 million over four years to fund an expansion of the force, including 300 intelligence operators and forensic specialists.

Legal aid

The Turnbull Government is to reinstate $55.7 million in funding for community legal services, whose services had been on the chopping block for three years. Thirty-nine million dollars in funding will go back to community legal centres, while $16.7 million will be retained by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services.

Education

Budget plans for universities and schools were announced early. The Turnbull Government is trying to push a $2.8 billion "efficiency dividend" on universities to boost the Budget bottom line. As well, it wants to increase student fees by 1.8 percent next year and continue lifting it to a total of 7.5 percent by 2021.

The Government is promising to give a Gonski 2.0 by committing to an additional $18.6 billion for Australia's schools over the next decade in a new, yet to be determined, needs-based system -- starting from 2018.

Housing

In a sort of salary-sacrificing plan, the Turnbull Government is moving to allow first-home buyers to use some of their pre-tax income to save for a deposit.

The Treasurer has confirmed the government will take to steps to unlock additional land supply, most likely unused or surplus Defence Department land.

Foreign investors will also face a 'ghost house tax' of up to $5,000 on properties that are left unoccupied.

The Turnbull Government has repeatedly ruled out Labor's promise to limit negative-gearing tax breaks to cool investor demand.

Visas

Companies who apply to bring temporary skilled migrants to Australia are set to pay more to fund a new national training program to better skill Australians to fill jobs.

Welfare

There is set to be a new welfare compliance crackdown in the May 9 Budget with the introduction of a demerit-point system for welfare recipients who don't turn up for job interviews or work-for-the-dole appointments.

The proposed changes promise "immediate and proportionate" financial punishment for anyone caught out.

Communications

The Turnbull Government has announced $6.1 million over two years for the community radio sector, although student and community media have been barred from the Budget lock-up at Parliament House.

Health

The Turnbull Government is expected to undo Labor's freeze on GP bulk-billing rebates, with Greg Hunt telling Adelaide radio on Thursday that the May Budget will be in his judgement a, "very, very good health Budget." The freeze has led to bulk-billed GP visits falling around the nation, particularly in Tasmania.

The Budget will also include the will include the first disbursement of more than $700 million over three years from the $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund.

The Turnbull Government is targeting a raft of mental health conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder in allocating $350 million to help prevent suicide among war veterans.

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