• SYDNEY, AAP – Prime Minister Scott Morrison says his government’s May 11 budget will serve as “stage two” of its post-coronavirus recovery plan, following on from the 2020 budget handed down in October.

    In a speech to the Business Council of Australia on Monday night, Mr Morrison said the pandemic and associated government initiatives such as JobKeeper had not changed his government’s desire for business-led economic growth.

    He said the May 11 budget will retain a “clear focus” on low taxes, deregulation, “sensible” industrial relations policy and open trade.

    The Australian economy has recouped some 85 per cent of its losses caused by COVID-19.

    “(It’s) a plan that very much puts business and the private sector in the driver’s seat for a durable and strong economic recovery,” Mr Morrison said.

    Mr Morrison also used the speech to outline a $120 million “deregulation package” which he said would help businesses grow with less friction.

    This included the streamlining of business reporting on greenhouse gas and energy activities, assistance to commercial fishing businesses for their data requirements and simpler business communication with the federal treasury department.

    The government would also look to help businesses operate with fewer restrictions across state borders by removing the need for multiple occupational licences.

    Mr Morrison said deregulation had always been important to his government.

    “The benefits to businesses, individuals and not-for-profits in reduced compliance costs under this package are estimated to average $430 million annually,” Mr Morrison said.

    It comes as millions of Australians brace for a bigger tax bill, with a tax stimulus measure finishing at the end of this financial year.

    The $1080 low and middle income tax offset (LMITO), which benefits people with a taxable income of between $48,000 and $90,000, is due to end in June.

    Analysts at the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre estimate some 3.4 million taxpayers will lose out from its removal, 50 per cent of whom will be women.

    Bankwest Curtin analysts say the removal of the LMITO effectively cancels out the benefit of changes to tax thresholds for $48,000-$90,000 earners, making them no better off than they were in 2019/20.