Budget 2017: ScoMo’s promise of cost of living help
AUSTRALIANS will win hip-pocket reprieve to offset years of slow wage growth in a bid to ease cost-of-living pain, while police will get one of the biggest cash-injections ever to fight the threat of organised crime and terrorism in tomorrow's Budget.
A massive $321 million boost to the Australian Federal Police budget will mean 300 extra covert intelligence operators and forensic specialists to help protect Australians from the threat of terrorism.
The government says crime gangs, drug syndicates and even fraudsters will be caught quicker too thanks to the cash splash.
The government says it has also come out fighting for everyday Australians on four key fronts - growing the economy to secure more and better-paid jobs, guaranteeing the essential services that Australians rely on, putting downward pressure on cost of living and ensuring the government lives within its means.
In an extensive pre-Budget interview with The Daily Telegraph, Treasurer Scott Morrison said he understood Australians were counting on "fairness" in the Budget.
Asked if Australians would have more money in their pocket from the Budget and whole-of-government plans, Mr Morrison said they would.
And foreshadowing his intention to tackle cost of living in the Budget, Mr Morrison said: "One of the things that have been clear is when wage growth is so modest then people's sensitivity to things like the cost of going to a doctor, the cost of medicines, the cost of electricity bills, the cost of rent, how much of it is left over, if anything at all - people are a lot more conscious of that."
Mr Morrison said the Budget would reward Australians for their hard work, like those striving to own their first home. He said many Australians "felt they have not got as far ahead as they would like".
And, for some, he said they feel like they've not got ahead "at all". "They need to know that their sacrifices and the hard work they've been putting in has been worth it and I think the Budget will encourage them and endorse their hard effort," Mr Morrison told The Daily Telegraph.
Struggling households will within weeks receive cash to turn on their heaters this winter, with Mr Morrison confirming for the first time when the bonus will be paid. It will be $75 for singles and $125 for couples. The government is also expected to reward first home savers with a salary sacrifice-based savings plan.
The government will also commit $12.5 million more to the Central Coast Medical School and Medical Research Institute in Gosford so it can attract world-class academics and medical professionals when it opens in three years.
Tuesday's budget will contain new funding which takes the federal government's share of money for the University of Newcastle project to $45m.
Reforms are also expected to drive down the cost of healthcare, including lifting the freeze on the Medicare rebate.