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What to expect from the Federal Budget

What to expect from the Federal Budget article image

Treasurer Wayne Swan will tonight announce the highly anticipated 2009 Federal Budget. High on the agenda: a paid maternity leave scheme, pension increase, means testing for private health insurance rebates, and the removal of the boost to the first home owners grant. In his pre-budget doorstop meeting in Canberra this morning, Swan said the budget will be about jobs, nation-building and a path back to surplus. The budget is expected to forecast a $58 billion deficit for 2009/10. Mr Swan said that there are no easy answers when faced with a "revenue write-down of something like $200 billion". Key announcements will also include: a forecast of 8.5 percent unemployment for next year; a third economic stimulus package with a focus on infrastructure, a $30 a week increase in the single age pension, government-funded paid parental leave scheme for those earning less than $150,000 to start January 2011, means-testing of 30 per cent private health insurance rebate to affect singles earning over $74,000 and families with combined incomes of $150,000, along with the axing of the higher first home owner grant. The budget is also expected to include crackdown on specialist rorts under Medicare Safety Net, a slashing of the skilled migrant intake by about 7,000 to protect local jobs, a cut in government super co-contribution from $1,500 to $1,000 for those earning less than $60,000 a year, and increased funding to the ABC for the next three years. It is expected the budget will hurt a lot of families, with Swan accepting "full responsibility" for the pain the budget will cause for struggling families.

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