All aboard: The fast train to economic prosperity

All aboard: The fast train to economic prosperity

On Tuesday, May 9, Treasurer Scott Morrison delivered the Turnbull government’s second Budget.

Sticking to the same theme as last year’s Budget, there was a sharp focus on creating more and better paying jobs, and driving economic growth.

In an upbeat address, Mr Morrison pointed to a stronger global economy and clear signs of “better days ahead” provided Australians did not “succumb to the laziness that thinks growth will take care of itself”.

“There is now a clear and growing consensus that the global economic outlook is improving. We have positioned Australia well to take advantage,” he said.

“At home, we expect real growth to rebound to 3 per cent over the next two years… Household consumption, non-mining business investment and exports are expected to support growth.”

Headline numbers
  • The Budget is projected to return to balance in 2020-21
  • From a forecast deficit of $29.4 billion in 2017-18, the Treasurer announced a projected surplus of $7.4 billion in 2020-21 achieved primarily through an overhaul of welfare, health and education spending.
  • Real GDP growth to rebound to 3 per cent over the next two years
  • Wage growth to surpass 3 per cent over the next four years
Rebuilding the nation

Massive infrastructure spending designed to create jobs and fuel economic growth was the centrepiece of this year’s Budget.

The government announced $75 billion in infrastructure funding and financing for the next decade with a strong focus on improving roads and expanding rail networks to support commuters travelling to and from capital cities for work.

Up to $5.3 billion has been committed to establish the Western Sydney Airport Corporation, which will build and operate the new Western Sydney Airport and ultimately employ 60,000 people. The airport is expected to open in 2026 with work on the 1800-hectare site set to begin in the second half of 2018.

The Treasurer also provided further detail on the development of the Snowy Hydro, making it clear the government hoped to acquire “a larger share or outright ownership of Snowy Hydro” from the NSW and Victorian State Governments.

In addition to infrastructure spending, the government’s national economic plan for jobs and growth continued to focus on investing in science and innovation, supporting small businesses and upskilling workers while curbing migration.

As part of a foreign worker levy set to raise $1.2 billion over the next four years, employers must pay $1,200 or $1,800 per foreign worker per annum on temporary working visas and a $3,000 or $5,000 one-off levy for those on a permanent skilled visa.

“Skilled migration has always played a significant role in driving economic growth but it must be one our terms and we must skill more Australians to secure jobs,” Mr Morrison.

“This levy will contribute directly to a new Commonwealth-State Skilling Australians Fund. States and Territories will only be able to draw on this fund when they deliver on their commitments to train new apprentices.”