Labor says no to university funding cuts

Owen Stevens
May 12, 2017

The Australian government pledged to deliver a small budget surplus in 2020-21, slapping big banks with new taxes to end more than a decade of deficits that have threatened its prized triple-A credit rating.

All up, our commitments equate to a $10 billion re-investment in Australia's health care over four years, including the $2.8 billion increase in hospital funding.

I can understand the Greens finding it hard to agree with a Liberal/Nationals Government (they're simply politicians of a very different colour) but Labor needs to fight Malcolm Turnbull on a different battlefield.

The Turnbull government has confirmed the updated cost of its politically unpopular plan to cut taxes for Australian companies is $65.4bn, not the $48.7bn figure the government previously put forward.

And the big element will be the 0.5 per cent increase in the Medicare levy to be paid by all singles earning $21,655 a year and above, and couples on $36,541, with additions for dependent children.

Morrison said he expected the agencies would be impressed that his latest budget maintained its trajectory toward a surplus in three years.

Mr Morrison said it was "fair" to ask the banks to do their part to fix the budget.

The Australian Bankers Association described the new tax as "inherently risky", blaming speculation that the measure might be included the budget for banks losing AU$14 billion ($10 billion) in value on the Australian stock market earlier Tuesday.

Labor has tried to stymie the federal government's push to slash the tax rate for Australia's biggest businesses, saying the country can not afford it.

According to budget papers, the government expects the fund to ensure an ongoing source of revenue to support Australian skills development and the take-up of apprenticeships and traineeships.

The levy will raise $1.2 billion over the next four years.

The Treasurer also promised a "one-stop shop" for customer complaints aganst the banks called the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.

He argues new measures to get tough on bank behaviour will kick in immediately, which is a bid to blunt the sharpness of Labor's push for a royal commission.

"Unlike the previous bank deposit tax, this is specifically not a levy on pensioners' and others' ordinary deposit accounts, nor is it on home loans". Westpac Banking Corp. dropped 3.5 percent, Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd.

Growth to slow this year, but to pick up to 3% annual over the next two years, debt to continue rising and worryingly, no improvement in wages for much of the next four years.

Mr Morrison said the Government has legislated around $25 billion in measures to help the Budget, taking to more than $100 million the total measures implemented since 2013. The nation's second and third-largest cities, Melbourne and Brisbane, will be connected by a new 1700-kilometer inland rail line.

The Government has also heard the anger over housing prices.

While we would still love to see the Coalition take concrete action on housing affordability, such as unwinding negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount, providing incentive payments to the states to free-up land supply and planning, and cutting immigration, at least the Budget did minimal harm.

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