Treasurer Scott Morrison believes decisions made in Tuesday’s budget will help ease housing affordability issues, dismissing suggestions he has mistakenly raised expectations.
He has also indicated there will be a health announcement in his second budget, coat-tailing the government’s schools and university funding plans last week.
He doesn’t agree with those who say the commonwealth can’t make a difference in the area of housing affordability, and he says there’ll be a comprehensive plan that works with the states and territories in the budget.
‘It will address everything from the needs of those who don’t even have a roof over their head to those who are trying to buy one to put over their head,’ he told the Nine Network on Sunday.
‘It will deal with those later in life who are looking to change their own housing arrangements.’
On health, he said Health Minister Greg Hunt has been working with the clinics, the medicine sector, pharmacists and doctors to ensure the budget delivers a healthy Australia.
‘I’ll have more to say about that on budget night … this budget is all about making the right choices,’ he said.
‘The choices you have to make are about growing the economy but they’re also about ensuring the services that Australians rely on, and Medicare and the PBS these are critical services.’
Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said it looked like the budget was adopting ‘pale imitations’ of Labor policy in an attempt to save the prime minister’s political life.
‘It is designed to save Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership, desperate to get a positive Newspoll,’ Mr Bowen told ABC television.
Mr Morrison on Sunday announced pensioners would get a one-off payment to help with their electricity bills this winter.
There will be a $75 payment for single pensioners and $125 for couples, which will be paid before June 30.
There will also be a $350 million boost to help defence force veterans battling mental health conditions.
In a joint statement with West Australian Premier Mark McGowan, Mr Turnbull announced a $2.3 billion road and rail package for the state that will create 6000 jobs as a result of 17 new projects.
Transport and Infrastructure Minister Darren Chester indicated there would be funding in the budget for the inland freight rail network between Brisbane and Melbourne.
‘It is a very exciting project. It is one that’s long overdue,’ he told ABC television.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann declined to say whether there would be new taxes in the budget.
‘There has been a lot of speculation in the lead-up to this budget … not much longer to go,’ Senator Cormann told Sky News.
He said it was up to the credit rating agencies whether Australia kept its triple-A rating after the budget, but it was something the government values.
‘We always work to ensure that our budget is in the best possible position and on the best possible trajectory for the future.