Treasurer Scott Morrison says he’s brewing up a budget to get rid of more barriers to businesses investing and putting on more workers.
Mr Morrison visited the Capital Brewing Company in Canberra on Friday to announce an $85 million plan to relieve craft brewers from a bizarre tax that means they pay extra just to use smaller kegs.
“This is a budget that is backing business to create more jobs … by removing tax arrangements that were basically holding them back,” Mr Morrison told reporters on Friday.
“Why should their businesses be held back because of tax systems that are out of date?”
The government has flagged an improved bottom line in Tuesday’s budget but won’t reveal if it will return to surplus earlier than the predicted 2021.
“We have been getting expenditure under control and we have been growing the economy and one of the reasons we have been able to grow the economy is we are not looking to slug business with higher taxes,” Mr Morrison said.
Labor leader Bill Shorten says the budget must give voters a fair go.
“They want to see fairness,” Mr Shorten told reporters in Melbourne.
“I think everyone would agree that the last four coalition budgets, by most people’s evaluation, have been dismal failures. Unfortunately, it seems that budget number five, it seems to be taking the same approach.”
He said the budget will be a failure unless the government unfreezes growth in the Medicare rebate and better funds hospitals.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann says the government is balancing the need for personal income tax cuts and paying down the national debt.
“We’ve got to make sure that our tax arrangements remain competitive … we’ve got to make sure we get back into surplus as soon as possible, and we need to make sure that we can pay off debt as soon as possible,” he said.
“As well as making sure that we can guarantee funding for all of the important services.”
The Reserve Bank of Australia is predicting GDP growth to even out at three per cent in 2020, and unemployment to trend downwards, but then remain flat at 5.25 per cent over the next two years.
It also expects more women and older men to participate in the work force.
Ahead of the budget, the government on Friday revealed $140 million to attract Hollywood blockbusters to Australia, effectively doubling the existing rebate offered for films to 30 per cent.
“Many, many producers want to make films in Australia because they love our talent, they love our people,” Communications Minister Mitch Fifield told reporters on the Gold Coast.
“What this does is it gives them the excuse, and the reason, to do just that.”