How to close out the end of the Federal Government’s $1.3 trillion welfare fund
Closing out the Federal government’s $716 billion welfare fund will be tough, but some advocates say it’s a worthwhile, and overdue, option.
The Treasurer, Scott Morrison, is proposing the end-of-year budget as he looks to avoid an embarrassing downgrade in his economic outlook.
But it’s unclear how far he’ll go, given Labor’s reluctance to cut the money, and that the Coalition has resisted calls to close the program.
It’s estimated the program will generate about $7.4 billion in welfare payments for the next five years, about the same as it generated last year.
But the Opposition is insisting it’s an entitlement program and has warned the Government would be “losing billions” in revenue.
In his budget speech, Mr Morrison said it was a necessary last-ditch measure to save the budget and he would continue to pursue it.
“The end of 2017 is not far off.
We have already spent more than $7 billion in this budget and we’ll continue to do so in 2018,” he said.”
This budget will close out one of the most destructive years for the budget in the history of the Government.”
Mr Morrison also acknowledged the Coalition’s recent decision to scrap the Government’s controversial $15-a-week benefit for workers in the mining sector.
“These decisions will mean we are not only taking back money from people in the sector who are already struggling but also taking away a valuable tax break that will help pay for our infrastructure,” he told parliament.
“It is a tough decision to make but we will do it.”
But Labor’s deputy leader, Tanya Plibersek, said the Government was “still paying $15 for the miners”.
“Labor is committed to ending the Abbott Government’s welfare cuts, but the Coalition still has the last laugh,” she said.’
I’m glad it’s gone’The Coalition’s response was to introduce the first of two changes to the program, to eliminate the $717 million in payments to workers and to allow the Government to close down the program without any loss of revenue.
“We’ll be working to close these loopholes that the Treasurer is now attempting to use to try and keep the Government on a path to another year of deficits,” Treasurer Scott Morrison said.
The Government said it would not close the welfare fund until it had “all the facts” and the details of the proposal had been discussed with the Senate.
“In the meantime, we will continue to provide all Australians with the best possible support to get through this difficult time,” he added.
Mr Morrison’s announcement was welcomed by the Greens, who said it had been “a long time coming”.
“The budget is an important step to make sure people have enough money to buy a home, a car, and other essential goods, and it’s been a long time overdue,” Senator Nick McKim said.
“I’m pleased the Treasurer has finally done it.”
“There are no excuses for the Government not closing the welfare gap.”
He said the Labor Government had done “a terrible job” and that “the Government can’t be trusted to close it”.
“This government has failed to deliver on its promise of a $715 per week minimum wage and has made no effort to help low-paid Australians,” Senator McKim told ABC radio.
But the Federal Opposition has said the move is needed to help pay the costs of the government’s tax cut.
“I think the government has got a responsibility to ensure the welfare bill doesn’t go up,” Senator Scott Ludlam said.
Topics:government-and-politics,business-economics-and-“economics”,”industry,government-of,national-security,finance,national—state-issues,jobs,welfare,human-interest,education,education-industry-and%E2%80%93-%E3%81%89,federation,cabinet-office,bureau-of‑financial-analysis,budget,government,wealth-and,wealthy-companies,government—state,wealth,bachelor-years,state-parliament,state—province,alp,australiaFirst posted January 09, 2018 13:20:38Contact Josh DaleyMore stories from Australia