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Your Budget 2017-18

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Budget overview

This Budget is the next stage in the Government's economic plan, building on commitments from the 2016-17 Budget and the 2016 election.

A generation of Australians has grown up without ever having known a recession, with the nation now in its 26th consecutive year of economic growth.

In recent years the growth has been hard won and not all Australians have shared in the growth. Many others remain frustrated. Wage growth has been slow, additional hours have been hard to come by, and small business owners have gone without to keep their businesses open and their employees in jobs.

This is putting increased pressure on Australians and their families but there are clear signs that the economy is moving towards better days.

This Budget is about making those right choices, to secure the better days ahead.

And the choices we have made are clear.

Stronger growth to deliver more and better paying jobs

We choose to focus on growing our economy, in particular by investing in infrastructure, to secure more and better paying jobs, and create an environment where people and businesses are enabled and empowered. Encouraging businesses to grow, and investing in key infrastructure will boost job creation and help deliver much needed pay rises for Australians.

Guaranteeing the essential services that Australians rely on

We choose to prioritise the essential services that Australians rely on, especially our most vulnerable, by funding our share of important services in health care, housing, disability support, education and employment. They are services that give Australians the security and confidence they need to grab a hold of opportunities when they arise.

In times of low wage growth, Australians are more focussed on the delivery of essential services such as Medicare. Australians can be assured, we will not only continue to deliver these services, but will strengthen them.

Tackling cost of living pressures

We choose to tackle cost of living pressures for Australians and their families, taking action to ease the strain in areas such as housing affordability, power prices and child care. The Government recognises that not all Australians have enjoyed the benefits of our nation’s growth, and with this Budget seeks to ease the burden on household budgets and make housing more affordable for prospective buyers and renters and to support people who are homeless.

Ensuring the Government lives within its means

We are taking practical action to arrest the deficit and the growth in our debt, and doing all we can to preserve our AAA credit rating. That is what Australians want, and that is what we are committed to, ensuring our future generations are not burdened with debt.

These four choices will be our foundation. They are not merely slogans or statements of good intention, they are the pillars that underpin everything we do as a Government moving forward, and our reference point for delivering good Government.

They are the right choices to secure the better days ahead.

Budget at a glance

The right choices to secure the better days ahead

The Government is focussed on boosting the economy and helping households, to ensure all Australians can benefit from the nation’s growth story. This Budget is based on the principles of fairness, security and opportunity. It builds on the strength of the 2016-17 Budget and seeks to create more opportunities for Australians and businesses, to guarantee essential services and create more and better paying jobs.

The Government is backing in small business and investing in future growth with funding for major infrastructure projects.

The Government is guaranteeing Medicare to ensure Australians can access timely and affordable health care, by establishing the Medicare Guarantee Fund.

The Government will ensure the National Disability Insurance Scheme is fully funded by increasing the Medicare levy by half a percentage point.

Building on the $1.2 billion provided in the 2016-17 Budget, the Government will provide an additional $18.6 billion in funding over a decade for schools.

The Government is reducing the cost of living by improving Australians’ access to secure and affordable housing across the housing spectrum.

Delivery of further investment in infrastructure across our cities and in our regions will ensure the benefits of Australia’s economic growth are shared broadly across the country.

Australian jobs are at the centre of the Government’s decision to abolish the subclass 457 visa. This visa will be replaced by a new temporary skilled visa restricted to critical skill shortages.

Together these measures will increase the economy’s performance that is vital to ensuring that we live within our means and are able to return the Budget to balance in 2020-21.

Budget aggregates and major economic parameters(b)

  Actual   Estimates   Projections
  2015-16   2016-17 2017-18 2018-19   2019-20 2020-21
Underlying cash balance ($b)(a) -39.6   -37.6 -29.4 -21.4   -2.5 7.4
Per cent of GDP -2.4   -2.1 -1.6 -1.1   -0.1 0.4
Net operating balance ($b) -33.6   -38.7 -19.8 -10.8   7.6 17.5
Per cent of GDP -2.0   -2.2 -1.1 -0.6   0.4 0.8

(a) Excludes expected net Future Fund earnings before 2020-21.

  Outcomes   Forecasts   Projections
  2015-16   2016-17 2017-18 2018-19   2019-20 2020-21
Real GDP 2.6   1 3/4 2 3/4 3   3 3
Employment 1.9   1 1 1/2 1 1/2   1 1/2 1 1/2
Unemployment rate 5.7   5 3/4 5 3/4 5 1/2   5 1/2 5 1/4
Consumer price index 1.0   2 2 2 1/4   2 1/2 2 1/2
Wage price index 2.1   2 2 1/2 3   3 1/2 3 3/4
Nominal GDP 2.3   6 4 4   4 1/2 4 3/4

(b) Year average growth unless otherwise stated. From 2015-16 to 2018-19, employment and the wage price index are through the year growth to the June quarter. The unemployment rate is the rate for the June quarter. The consumer price index is through the year growth to the June quarter.

Source: ABS cat. no. 5206.0, 6202.0, 6345.0, 6401.0 and Treasury.