Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Higher taxes in Australia's 'better times' budget

"If the government thinks that by announcing a package of half measures in an attempt to address widespread community concern over banking conduct will reduce the calls for a royal commission, they are wrong".

Australia' s Treasurer Scott Morrison insists he's not expecting a fight from Australia's big banks despite announcing a surprise levy on Tuesday night's annual budget.

The budget deficit will be $29.4 billion in 2017-18, improving to a surplus of $7.4 billion by 2020-21. That was slightly weaker than the Reserve Bank of Australia's estimates of 2.75-3.75 by mid-2018 through to June 2019.

The Treasurer allocated $75 billion to infrastructure, with transport receiving the lion's share of about $70 billion in funding over the next 10 years.

The government plans to clamp down on the hiring of foreign workers and to impose hefty taxes and charges on overseas investors in property that will collect an extra A$600 million over the next four years.

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The government also restored a regulation that prevents developers from selling more than 50 percent of new projects to anyone not living in Australia.

The Medicare levy increase, which mimics the 0.5 percentage point increase Labor introduced in 2014 to help fund the NDIS, will affect nearly all taxpayers.

The Turnbull Government is starting afresh from Tony Abbott's horror 2014 budget, vowing to make the "right choices" for Australia.

Pushing up personal income tax by lifting the Medicare levy to 2.5 per cent of personal income is at odds with Mr Morrison's previous message that there is a spending problem not a revenue problem. JobSeeker recipients testing positive would be placed on the Cashless Debit Card.

At the same time, schools will face a $22 billion easing in funding and the Medicare GP rebate freeze won't come off in its entirety.

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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. The surpluses projected are not enough to pay back debt.

"We have to fund the NDIS".

That equates to $6.2 billion of new taxes from the banking sector over the next four years.

The contributions will receive the tax advantages of superannuation, with contributions and earnings taxed at 15% rather than marginal rates.

But first home buyers will only be able to withdraw what they contribute, rather than access their retirement savings.Negative gearing and capital gains tax will remain untouched. The airport is expected to create 60,000 jobs in the long term and is projected to be complete by 2026.

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The initiative is expected to facilitate more than $15 billion in Government asset sales and unlock $17 billion in infrastructure spending. The inland rail line, to receive A$8.4 billion in funding, will run from Melbourne to Brisbane, spanning 1,700km, and will help farmers to move produce and exports. The government will also establish a trust to get investors - both foreign and domestic - interested in investing in affordable housing.

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