Australia budget 2017: Treasurer promises fairness and growth


For Australia's five biggest banks, this year's federal budget will go down as another Black Tuesday.

MR IAN VERRENDER, business commentator on the ABC News website.

"There will also be $31.4 million for capital works to maintain important infrastructure, gaining efficiencies in reduced long-term maintenance costs", Mr Morrison said.

The ABA wants to know how Treasury came up with the $6.2 billion estimate, how the new tax will affect transactions between the big four banks, Macquarie and the Reserve Bank, and how that would affect the wider economy.

Australia has outpaced many of its developed country peers since the global financial crisis, but steady economic growth has been challenged in recent years by the end of the mining investment boom.

In his speech, Morrison reaffirmed the Government's commitment to expediting the development of the Snowy Hydroelectricity 2.0 scheme to provide increased storage capacity and transmission.

The Australian government announced plans to invest A$75 billion ($55 billion) in major infrastructure projects over the next 10 years, including an expansive inland railway and the potential purchase of a larger stake in the Snow Hydro Scheme, as it attempts to kickstart the country's next growth phase.

He said pay packets were set to rise by three per cent over the next four years while the national economy would expand by three per cent in the coming two years.

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Australian Federal Police to receive an extra A$321 million over four years for counter-terrorism and other efforts, plus around A$150 million extra for the nation's domestic and foreign spy agencies.

And in recognition of the pounding on health policy it received at the election past year, it wants to legislate a Medicare Guarantee Bill with a Medicare Guaranteed Fund to cover all expenses of the scheme.

Numerous commentators described it as a "Labor Budget" because it had shown a surprising willingness to increase taxes and to boost spending on areas such as schools and support for the disabled. "It's $8 billion. A tax increase which affects nearly every working Australian", he said.

The Government has also heard the anger over housing prices. "The NDIS is a shared commitment in this parliament", he said.

As the affordability debate heats up, concern has been raised about foreigners holding vacant properties and absorbing local housing supply.

Foreign investors will be the only ones to face tougher housing restrictions as part of the package, with the government charging at least $5000 to foreign owners of residential real estate when that property is not occupied or genuinely available on the rental market for at least six months of the year.

Bank executives will be subject to a new accountability regime in which the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority will have the power to sack or disqualify them, claw back their bonuses and enforce penalties on banks of up to $200 million.

"The budget is about making the right choices to secure the better days ahead", Morrison said in sticking to his promise to return a surplus by 2021/22 from a projected 2017/18 deficit of 29.4 billion Australian dollars.