Measures to address cost of living issues will be a key part of the next federal budget, according to the Prime Minister.
With less than a week to hand over the 2022/23 budget, Scott Morrison said work was being finalized on ways to cope with soaring costs of essentials such as petrol and essentials. ‘grocery store.
“Tackling these cost of living pressures will be a key priority in this budget,” he told the Nine Network on Wednesday.
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“We’ve carefully crafted our response because what we don’t do is have knee-jerk reactions to things like the economy.”
The government hopes to use the budget as a springboard ahead of the federal election scheduled for May.
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has given his backing to budget measures that tackle the rising cost of living.
However, he remained tight-lipped on whether Labor backed calls to temporarily cut excise duty by 44.2 cents per liter on fuel, following rising petrol prices.
“We’ll evaluate all of that, we’ll wait and see,” he told ABC TV.
“There are a series of measures that put pressure on family budgets, the most important of which is that we are simply not keeping up with the cost of living.”
The Labor leader denounced the prime minister, saying the government had no intention of actively tackling the rising cost of living.
“Housing costs are going up, the cost of food and groceries are going up, all of this is impacting people’s ability to pay their bills and get by,” he said.
“The only thing that’s not going up is wages, and wages are expected to fall further in real terms over the next four years.”
It comes as the government on Wednesday announced $5.4 billion in budget funding for the construction of the Hells Gates Dam in North Queensland.
The government will guarantee funding for the construction of the dam, which is expected to create 7,000 jobs, subject to the completion of the final stage of the business case, due in June this year.
Up to 60,000 hectares of irrigation would be opened up through a 2,100 gigaliter dam reinforced by three downstream irrigation weirs.
Mr Morrison said more dams were needed in Australia to support agricultural industries
“We have done our homework on the Hells Gates Dam and now is the time to move on and build it,” he said.
“This dam will help transform the Burdekin region into an agricultural powerhouse, helping our farmers supply supermarkets and feed Australia while ensuring water supply and security for North Queensland.”
Since transportation is a key issue for the regions, an additional $29 million of the budget will go to the modernization of regional airports.
Applications will be open for grants ranging from $20,000 to $5 million to help cover up to half of eligible project costs.
Also on Wednesday, the government announced that $700 million had been set aside to support specialist medical training in the regions.
The government’s specialist training program will continue for four years from 2022, with $708.6 million spent on its expansion.
The program, which has been running since 2010, allows local doctors to be trained in all areas of medical specialty.