Federal Budget 2022: Treasurer’s speech transcript

Tonight, as we gather, war rages in Europe. The global pandemic is not over. Devastating floods have battered our communities. We live in uncertain times.

The last two years have been tough for our country, there have been setbacks along the way but Australia remains resilient. Australians remain strong. We have overcome the biggest economic shock since the Great Depression.

Our recovery leads the world. Faster and stronger than the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. Mr Speaker, those opposite said the biggest test for our government would be what happens to jobs.

Tonight, I can confirm to the House, unemployment is at 4 per cent, the equal lowest in 48 years. There are nearly 2 million more Australians in work today than when we came to government. More women in work than ever before.

This budget will see unemployment go even lower, delivering more jobs and higher wages. This is not luck. Our economic plan is working. JobKeeper saved 700,000 jobs. HomeBuilder helped more than 100,000 Australians into a home. Taxes are lower for more than 11 million Australians and 3.6 million small businesses and sole traders. Our AAA credit rating maintained. This is our record.

Read: Budget night ends up an election pitch packed with sugar hits

Mr Speaker, a strong economy means a stronger budget. This is what we deliver tonight. The largest and fastest improvement to the budget bottom line in over 70 years.

By the end of the forward estimates, the budget is $100 billion better off compared to last year. More people in work, fewer on welfare. Repairing the budget without increasing taxes.

The deficit for 2022-23 is expected to be $78 billion or 3.4 per cent of GDP. Over the next three years, this will more than halve to 1.6 per cent. Net debt as a share of the economy will peak at 33.1 per cent at June 30, 2026, significantly lower than forecast last year.

We have drawn clear lines. Banking the dividend of a stronger economy, ending economy-wide emergency support. When we did so, those opposite were quick to criticise. When Labor starts spending, they simply can’t stop. The result is higher taxes and higher interest rates. Only the Coalition can responsibly manage the budget and strengthen our nation’s finances.

Read: Weeks out from an election, Budget eases the pain

<iframe width=”730″ height=”411″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/LVH0OHI56vM” title=”YouTube video player” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe>

Mr Speaker, our thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones, homes and businesses in the catastrophic floods across New South Wales and South-East Queensland. Nothing I say can overcome the personal pain and loss of so many Australians.

We will stand with these communities and help them rebuild. Already, over 1 million disaster payments have been made, total support to families, farmers, small businesses, local governments and their communities is expected to exceed $6 billion. It will deliver hope, work and the prospect of returning to a better life.

Read: Budget slammed as an ‘incoherent mess’

Mr Speaker, tonight we look to the future; realistic about the growing threats we face, ambitious for our country and our children, optimistic about what can be achieved.

As we emerge from the pandemic, we are building an even stronger, more secure and confident Australia. Where aspiration and enterprise are encouraged and rewarded, where families have greater flexibility and choice, where those in need get a helping hand, where greater self-reliance leaves our nation less vulnerable, where our modern competitive industries create new jobs, and where Australia and our allies protect our national interest. This is our vision for Australia.

Tonight’s budget delivers:

  • Cost-of-living relief now.
  • A long-term economic plan that creates more jobs.
  • Record investments in essential services.
  • Stronger defence and national security.
  • A plan for the times.

Mr Speaker, events abroad are pushing up the cost of living at home. Higher fuel, food and shipping costs are increasing inflation and stretching household budgets. Tonight the Morrison government announces a new temporary, targeted and responsible cost-of-living package to ease these pressures. Practical measures that will make a difference.

Fuel excise will be cut in half; for the next six months, Australians will save 22 cents a litre every time they fill up their car. A family with two cars who fill up once a week could save around $30 a week or around $700 over the next six months.

Whether you’re dropping the kids at school, driving to and from work or visiting family and friends, it will cost less. This cut in fuel excise, which takes effect from midnight tonight, will flow through to the bowser over the next two weeks. The competition watchdog will monitor retailers to make sure these savings are passed on in full.

Read: Social reaction: A sugar hit re-election focused Budget lacks guts

This temporary reduction in fuel excise will not come at a cost to road funding, which will see more than $12 billion spent in the coming year.

Mr Speaker, tonight I also announce a new one-off $420 cost-of-living tax offset for more than 10 million low- and middle-income earners.

Individuals already receiving the low- and middle-income tax offset will now receive up to $1500 and couples up to $3000 from July 1 this year. This measure comes on top of the $40 billion in tax relief already provided by our government since the start of the pandemic. Under the Coalition, taxes for hard-working Australians will always be lower.

Mr Speaker, tonight I also announce a new one-off $250 Cost of Living Payment, delivered within weeks to 6 million Australians. Pensioners, carers, veterans, job seekers, eligible self-funded retirees and concession card holders will benefit.

Together, with existing indexation arrangements, this will see a single pensioner receive more than $500 in additional support over the next six months, just when they need it most.

Read: Federal Budget 2022: Frydenberg has spent big, ‘but responsibly’

Mr Speaker, to provide further cost of living relief, tonight I also announce greater access to cheaper medicines for 2.4 million Australians. For many Australians, incurring these costs is non-negotiable.

Australians will need fewer scripts before they are eligible for free or further discounted medicines.

This budget’s new cost of living package is responsible and targeted, delivering cheaper fuel, cheaper medicines and putting more money in the pockets of millions of Australians.

Mr Speaker, tonight we write a new chapter in Australia’s economic story. With a plan that backs Australians, their enterprise and their aspirations.

Mr Speaker, Australia’s unemployment rate is heading towards a 50-year low. We have a historic opportunity to get young Australians into skilled, secure and well-paid jobs. The dignity of work is important for all Australians.

During this pandemic, we have already invested $13 billion in skills and training, with a record 220,000 Australians now in a trade apprenticeship, the highest level since records began in 1963.

Tonight, we go further, with a new $2.8 billion investment to increase take-up and completion rates.

Providing $5000 payments to new apprentices and up to $15,000 in wage subsidies for employers who take them on.

Mr Speaker, in this budget we also lay the foundations for national skills reform with a $3.7 billion investment supporting an additional 800,000 training places, ensuring businesses get the skilled workers they need.

Tonight, we also fund new and expanded programs to help find employment for disadvantaged youth, Indigenous Australians, the mature-aged and Australians with a disability. Skilling Australians is part of our plan for a stronger future.

Forum: Josh Frydenberg will undoubtedly be the next head of the Coalition. Thoughts?

Mr Speaker, small and family businesses are at the heart of our economy and local communities. They employ nearly 8 million Australians.

This government has backed small businesses with the lowest tax rates in 50 years and record investment incentives. Tonight, we go further, rewarding small businesses that invest in skills and new technology. No one knows better than a small business owner what skills they need in their employees.

Starting tonight, for every hundred dollars a small business spends on training their employees, they will get a $120 tax deduction, helping them become more productive and competitive.

In this budget, we are also backing small businesses that are embracing the digital revolution.

From tonight, every hundred dollars these small businesses spend on digital technologies like cloud computing, eInvoicing, cyber security and web design will see them get a $120 tax deduction.

Investments of up to $100,000 per year will be supported by this new measure. Mr Speaker, lower taxes for small business is part of our plan for a stronger future.

Mr Speaker, COVID and events in Ukraine have been a powerful reminder that we must increase our self-reliance. Australia has a world-class manufacturing sector.

Tonight, we announce new funding to solve for vulnerabilities in our supply chains. New funding to make Victoria the first place in the southern hemisphere to manufacture mRNA vaccines.

New funding to drive collaboration between our universities, CSIRO and industry to rapidly commercialise new technologies in clean energy, medical supplies, defence and other high priority areas.

A new patent box for the agriculture and low-emissions technology sectors will see income from new patents developed in Australia taxed at almost half the rate that applies to large companies. A modern, resilient manufacturing sector is part of our plan for a stronger future.

Mr Speaker, our regions will always be an economic powerhouse, generating prosperity for our nation. No government has invested more in our regions than this Liberal-National Coalition.

Tonight, we go further, announcing an unprecedented regional investment package that includes transformational investments in agriculture, infrastructure and energy in the Hunter, the Pilbara, the Northern Territory and North and Central Queensland. These long-term investments will unlock new economic frontiers and grow our national economy.

Mr Speaker, our regional package also includes major new investments in water projects, a new regional accelerator, telecommunications and health.

A new $7.4 billion investment in more dams and water projects to improve vital water security and expand irrigation. A new $2 billion regional accelerator program to invest in skills, education infrastructure, export market development and supply chain resilience for our regions.

Read: Retirees to benefit from superannuation changes

A new $1.3 billion telecommunications package to expand mobile coverage across 8000 kilometres of regional transport routes. More training places for doctors at regional universities. Better access to MRI machines, mental health services and childcare centres across regional and remote Australia. Stronger regions will always be part of the Coalition’s plan for a stronger future.

Mr Speaker, our record $120 billion infrastructure pipeline has already completed over 35,000 projects across the country since we came to government. Nation building projects like the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail, the new Western Sydney international airport and Snowy 2.0 are well under way.

Tonight’s budget includes new commitments to road and rail projects: Brisbane to Sunshine Coast faster rail; Sydney to Newcastle faster rail; the METRONET project in Western Australia; the North-South Corridor in South Australia; Great Eastern Drive in Tasmania; Central Australian Tourism Roads in the Northern Territory; and Melbourne Intermodal Terminals to increase the efficiency of the national freight network.

More than $500 million for local councils to deliver priority projects and $880 million to better connect regional Australia with ports, airports and other transport hubs. Delivering our record infrastructure pipeline is a vital part of our plan for a stronger future.

Mr Speaker, Australia is on the pathway to net zero emissions by 2050 and playing its part in responding to the critical global challenge of climate change. Technology, not taxes, will get us there.

Already, Australia has the highest uptake of rooftop solar in the world. We are investing in clean hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, batteries and large-scale solar.

Tonight, we make further investments in microgrids to support regional and remote communities that don’t otherwise have access to the grid with small-scale renewable energy projects like solar and wind. A low-emissions future with reliable and affordable power is critical to our plan for a strong economy.

Mr Speaker, a strong economy enables us to guarantee the essential services Australians rely on.

Our government has delivered record funding for schools, hospitals, Medicare, mental health, aged care, women’s safety and disability support.

Funding for our health system has increased every year under our government and is at a record high. Medicare is guaranteed, bulk billing rates are at a record high, we have approved more than 2800 new or amended listings on the PBS, nearly one per day.

Tonight, I announce the listing of Trodelvy for a rare form of breast cancer, saving patients up to $80,000 per treatment. For the first time, this drug gives hope to many young women, extending their life expectancy and providing an opportunity to spend precious time with their loved ones.

Like Alison, a young mum who when she got her terminal prognosis wrote a letter to her daughter Matilda to open on her 12th birthday, when Alison would no longer be there. Because of Trodelvy, Alison will tomorrow celebrate Matilda’s 12th birthday.

Mr Speaker, we also continue to invest in keeping Australians safe from the pandemic with vaccines, testing and treatment and more PPE to boost the national stockpile ahead of winter.

Mr Speaker, mental illness can be completely debilitating for patients and their families; too many people are living lives of quiet desperation. Last year’s budget saw a landmark $2.3 billion investment in mental health and suicide prevention.

Tonight, we build on that commitment. More Headspace services, community-based treatment centres and digital mental health support. Combating suicide is a national priority. No government has invested more in mental health services.

Mr Speaker, one in four women are subject to domestic violence and tragically, every 11 days, an Australian woman loses her life at the hands of her current or former partner. In last year’s budget, we committed $1.1 billion for prevention, early intervention, response and recovery programs.

Tonight we go further, with a new $1.3 billion package to end violence against women and children. More frontline services, emergency accommodation, and support to access legal and health services for women and children in need.

This budget also includes a substantial new women’s health package: stillbirth and miscarriage support; the establishment of new endometriosis clinics, and greater access to breast and cervical cancer screenings.

Mr Speaker, employment is critical to economic security. Under the Coalition, female workforce participation is at a record high and female unemployment is at its lowest level since 1974. But there is more to do.

Tonight I announce changes to enhance Paid Parental Leave. Families, not government, are best placed to decide what works for them. We will expand eligibility and provide working families with full flexibility and greater choice.

More families will be able to access 20 weeks of leave and decide how they will share it. For the first time, single parents will now be able to access the full 20 weeks. The 180,000 new parents who access Paid Parental Leave each year will benefit from these changes.

This budget, with more than $2 billion of measures to improve the safety, health and economic security of women is part of our plan for a stronger future.

Mr Speaker, when we came to government, federal funding for disability support was half of what it is today. The NDIS has changed the lives of 500,000 Australians and their families. In this budget, NDIS funding grows in every year. Under the Coalition, the NDIS will always be fully funded.

Mr Speaker, since we have come to government, funding for aged care has doubled. In last year’s budget, I outlined a new five-year $17.7 billion plan for the sector with new home care packages, respite services, training places, retention bonuses and infrastructure upgrades.

Under this plan, 40,000 home care packages, 34,000 additional training places, 7000 new personal care workers and 8400 respite services will be rolled out this calendar year. This budget provides more than $340 million to embed pharmacy services within residential aged care facilities to improve medication management for the elderly.

Mr Speaker, home ownership is fundamental to the Coalition. HomeBuilder, the First Home Super Saver Scheme and the Home Guarantee Scheme have helped make the dream of home ownership a reality. Over the last year, 160,000 Australians purchased their first home.

Tonight we go further, more than doubling the Home Guarantee Scheme to 50,000 places per year, helping more single parents to buy a home with a deposit as low as 2 per cent. Helping more first home buyers to buy a home with a deposit as low as 5 per cent.

In this budget we are also increasing our support for affordable housing by $2 billion through the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation.

Helping more Australians to own a home is part of our plan for a stronger future.

Mr Speaker, our government will provide more than $180 billion in education funding over the next four years – record funding for preschools, record funding for schools, more than 30,000 new places at universities last year.

In tonight’s budget, we continue to invest in these critical areas. New regional scholarship programs to support students from lower socio-economic families and new funding for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student boarding program.

Mr Speaker, our government is safeguarding Australia’s unique environment for future generations. For thousands of years our First Nations people have cared for country; tonight, we are investing a further $636 million to expand the Indigenous Rangers Program, with more than 1000 new rangers to undertake land and sea management, an additional $1 billion in world-leading marine science to protect the Great Barrier Reef, more than $800 million to enhance our scientific capability in the Antarctic, funding vital research and environmental management, more than $170 million for threatened species and habitat restoration including for our koalas.

We are also continuing to invest in ways to reduce waste through our Recycling Modernisation Fund, saving 10 million tonnes of recyclables from landfill every year by 2030. No longer are we exporting waste, we are recycling it here at home and creating over 10,000 jobs in the process.

Mr Speaker, our economic plan can only be achieved if our nation is strong and secure.

Our veterans have given so much in the service of our country, our nation owes them eternal gratitude. In this budget we provide further funding to support home care services for 37,000 veterans and their families, as well as extending other programs supporting the wellbeing and mental health of our veterans.

Read: Budget gives an insight into how Ukraine war and global uncertainty might affect Australia

The lesson of history is that weakness invites aggression. It leaves nations vulnerable to coercion.

This is the reality we must confront; the world is less stable, we must invest more in the defence of our nation.

This is what we are doing after those opposite allowed defence spending to fall to its lowest level since 1938. We have put in place a 10-year defence capability plan worth more than $270 billion supporting more than 100,000 jobs.

Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyers, built in South Australia, now in the water; combat vehicles, maintained in Queensland, now in service; and F-35A Joint Strike Fighters with parts made in western Sydney, now in the air.

In this budget, we continue to make record investments in our Navy, Army and Air Force, expanding the size of our Defence workforce, at a cost of $38 billion. Deepening strategic partnerships through agreements such as AUKUS and the Quad.

And tonight I announce a new 10-year, $9.9 billion investment in Australia’s offensive and defensive cyber capabilities. This is the biggest ever investment in Australia’s cyber preparedness. Creating 1900 jobs, more data analysts, computer programmers and software engineers to boost our capacity to prevent and respond to cyber threats. Keeping Australians safe is part of our plan for a stronger future.

Mr Speaker, over the last three years Australians have been tested.

Drought, fire, floods. A global pandemic for which there was no playbook. Despite the challenges, our economic recovery is leading the world.

This is not a time to change course. This is a time to stick to our plan.

A plan that delivers cost of living relief now. A plan that creates jobs for the long term. A plan that guarantees the essential services. A plan that invests more in the defence of our nation.

Three years ago, we said to the Australian people: That under the Coalition, the economy would be stronger. We delivered. That under the Coalition, more people would be in work. We delivered.

That under the Coalition, taxes would be lower. We delivered. That under the Coalition, essential services would be guaranteed. We delivered. That under the Coalition, we would invest more in national security. We delivered.

This is a time to stick to our plan. A plan for a strong economy and a stronger future. We will deliver.

If you enjoy our content, don’t keep it to yourself. Share our free eNews with your friends and encourage them to sign up.

LOADING MORE ARTICLE...