26 September 2023

Cost of living to cost the Budget

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The 2022-23 Federal Budget is to provide cost of living relief, deliver higher wages, and enhance Paid Parental Leave according to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg who delivered the news this week (29 March).

Mr Frydenberg (pictured) said the Budget would also provide a long‑term economic plan to create more jobs, record funding for essential services, and stronger defence and national security.

He announced a temporary cost of living package to ease the pressures that higher fuel, food and shipping costs were placing on household budgets.

“Fuel excise will be cut in half,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“For the next six months, Australians will save 22 cents a litre every time they fill up their car,” he said.

“A family with two cars who fill up once a week could save around $30 a week or around $700 over the next six months.”

Mr Frydenberg said this cut in fuel excise, which has already taken effect, was expected to flow through to the bowser over the next two weeks.

He said the competition watchdog would monitor retailers to ensure the savings were passed on to consumers in full.

The Treasurer also announced a one-off $420 cost of living tax offset for low‑ and middle-income earners (those earning under $126,000), to be delivered in addition to the low- and middle-income tax offset which has been in place since 2018.

“Individuals already receiving the low- and middle-income tax offset will now receive up to $1,500 and couples up to $3,000 from 1 July this year,” he said.

However, the low- and middle-income tax offset is to end after this financial year.

Mr Frydenberg said further cost-of-living relief would be delivered in the form of cheaper medicines, with the threshold that triggers access to free medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme to be lowered, giving patients access to no-cost medicines sooner.

The Budget also simplifies paid parental leave, allowing couples to share 20 weeks of leave regardless of their gender.

Single parents will now be able to access the full 20 weeks of paid parental leave for the first time, providing them with an additional two weeks.

Mr Frydenberg allocated $1.3 billion towards ending violence against women and children, up from last year’s $1.1 billion.

The Treasurer said the current unemployment rate was at four per cent and the deficit for 2022‑23 was expected to be $78 billion.

The Treasurer’s speech can be accessed at the treasury website at this PS News link.

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