The 2015 Budget is the next step in our responsible long-term plan to build a stronger, safer and more prosperous future for all Australians.
This Budget builds on the progress we have made over the past twelve months in strengthening economic growth, jobs growth and the sustainability of our Budget.
During that period we had to deal with a whole series of unexpected challenges outside our control. We have felt first-hand the curse of terrorism. We have faced significant global economic headwinds, particularly the sharp fall in the iron ore price. And our farmers have been battling drought in large parts of Queensland and New South Wales.
Despite all of this, Australia’s economic and Budget position has improved.
Deficits over the forward estimates are reducing each and every year from $35.1 billion in 2015-16 to $6.9 billion in 2018-19.
Importantly, our timetable back to a Budget surplus is unchanged from last year.
This is despite the fact that we have lost $90 billion in expected tax revenue.
Growth in the Australian economy is expected to increase from its current 2 ½ per cent to 2 ¾ per cent in the next year and 3 ¼ per cent the year after that.
Australia is one of the fastest growing economies in the developed world.
Since coming to office nearly 250,000 new jobs have been created, and we have seen a significant increase in approved foreign investment applications in Australia, up 23 per cent in the past year alone. Retail sales are at record levels, as are new dwelling approvals.
In this Budget we are also reducing the size of Government as a share of the economy.
We have put Australia on a clear and credible path to living within our means. We are very conscious that there is much more work to be done.
That is why the 2015 Budget is focussed on growing jobs and helping small business innovate and grow.
The $5.5 billion Jobs and Small Business package is the biggest small business package in our nation’s history.
From 1 July this year, small companies with annual turnover of less than $2 million will have their tax lowered from 30 per cent to 28 ½ per cent. Unincorporated business will get an annual 5 per cent tax discount up to $1,000.
Small businesses will also be able to immediately deduct new assets up to $20,000.
There are a range of other measures that cut red tape and encourage entrepreneurship to help our more than 2 million small businesses invest more, grow more and employ more.
The 2015 Budget delivers on the Government’s commitment to support families by making childcare simpler, more affordable, accessible and flexible.
Boosting workforce participation is essential to Australia’s future prosperity and the Productivity Commission has estimated there are 165,000 parents who would like to work , or work more hours, but can’t because of difficulties with childcare.
The Government is delivering a $4.4 billion Families Package to give parents more choice and opportunity to work. This is good for families and good for the economy.
The Government’s Budget reforms are aimed at strengthening our systems to ensure they are fair and sustainable. This applies to taxation, foreign investment, welfare and individual benefits.
The Government will be proceeding with two major new tax integrity measures in the Budget, cracking down on multi-national tax avoidance and levelling the playing field for GST on digital products and services.
The Government continues to deliver on our commitment to build infrastructure to support economic growth, create jobs and link business to markets. The Government’s $50 billion infrastructure commitment is improving road and rail linkages in every state.
The 2015 Budget also delivers more than $400 million in targeted support for farmers and communities impacted by drought.
The highest responsibility of any government is the safety and security of its people.
There will be $1.2 billion in new funding for national security, which builds on the $1 billion the Government announced last year. In total, we will spend over $35 billion on defence, national security and law enforcement 2015-16.
The 2015 Budget recognises the changing shape of Australia and the world. It sets us up to be both, resilient in the face of global challenges coming our way and to be in the best possible position to take advantage of the incredible opportunities ahead of us.
Above all, this Budget is responsible, measured and fair.