On May 13 the Federal Treasurer, Mr Joe Hockey, handed down his first budget. The intention was to reduce the deficit from its current $49.9 billion to $29.8 billion next year. The deficit is then forecast to reduce to $17.1 billion in 2015/16 and $10.6 billion in 2016/17.
In what Mr Hockey described as, "delivering balanced and credible budget repair", the ’heavy lifting’ in this budget will be done by families, pensioners, the under 35s and those that rely heavily on government assistance or subsidies. The Treasurer said the “age of entitlement is over” and has slashed welfare, tightened pensions and introduced a temporary tax debt. According to the Government, the Australian economy is forecast to grow at 2.5% in 2014/15. Unemployment is forecast to reach 6.25% by the June 2015 quarter and remain at that level until the end of 2015/16. Inflation is forecast at 2.25% in 2014/15 and is projected to remain at 2.5% over the forward estimates to 2017/18. The key items announced in the Budget are outlined in the pages below:
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