/ 13 May 2024

Bowling up to Budget week

Image source: Envato
Image source: Envato

The Squiz 

It’s almost the day you’ve (or maybe that should be ‘we’ve’?) been waiting for… Treasurer Jim Chalmers will deliver the 2024-25 Federal Budget tomorrow night, so prepare to strap yourself in for a fair bit of fiscal chat this week… Doing the pre-Budget rounds yesterday, Chalmers wouldn’t get into the nitty-gritty, but said it would be “responsible” and include “substantial” relief for Aussies struggling with continuing cost of living pressures. 

Can’t this wait until later in the week? 

No – it’s right up there in the news headlines today, so consider this a sharpener… A stack of funding announcements have already been made, but yesterday, Chalmers said the Budget will be “good for mums and middle Australia, good for families, pensioners, students and young people”. Aside from the Stage 3 tax cuts we already know about, there will also be more energy bill relief, funding for domestic violence services, and relief for those with student debt. But with Australia’s gross debt tipped to rise above $1 trillion by June 2026, the Coalition says it’s worried about a cash splash. Its Treasury spokesperson Angus Taylor wants Australia’s former fiscal rules reintroduced to keep a lid on government spending.

Why not splash some cash? 

Umm, because that could affect inflation… The government’s challenge is to offer enough cost-of-living relief without adding inflationary pressure on the economy. Executing that task is even more in the frame because there’s a federal election a’comin, and the Albanese Government wants interest rates to start coming down ASAP. That’s easier said than done – and it’s not the only thing on the government’s plate… With ongoing cost of living pressures, the rising cost of housing, immigration, crime, China, energy, and local complications from the war in the Middle East, you can see why former Western Australian premier Colin Barnett says Team Albanese has “too many balls in the air”. It’s less than a day until we find out how well Chalmers and Co can juggle… 

**Want more budget?

Over on News Club Claire chats with James Chessell, former Managing Director of Publishing at Nine Entertainment and a former staffer, on how the Budget is made. Give it a listen here.

Squiz Kids had some questions too and Treasurer Jim Chalmers answered them. Check out out the Squiz Kids interview here.

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