Labor secures fairer budget repair package

13 September 2016

Labor has won significant amendments to the Omnibus Bill, which delivers more savings than in the Government’s legislation, protects the most vulnerable and invests in Australia’s clean energy future by saving the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

Today’s announcement also ensures affordable access to dental care for children by protecting Labor’s Child Dental Benefits Scheme.  

The amendments secured by Labor will deliver $6.3 billion in savings over four years, more than what the Government put forward in its original legislation.

Labor promised the Australian people we would undertake budget repair that is fair, and we are delivering on that promise today. 

We will not support cutting payments for some of the most vulnerable Australians. 

We are pleased that after extensive negotiations, the Government has agreed to our proposal for fairer alternative savings measures. 

Since the election and the introduction of the Government’s legislation, Labor has taken time to carefully scrutinise and consult on the measures contained in the Bill, and the agreement today reflects what we believe to be a better, fairer and more fiscally responsible package, in keeping with the fiscal commitment we took to the election.

We are pleased Mr Turnbull has agreed to our plan to abolish the Government’s Baby Bonus – it was wrong for the Government to lecture Australians about the need for spending cuts whilst indulging the National Party with a new Baby Bonus.

Once again, Labor has protected pensioners, single parents, carers and people with disability and people who have lost their job from the Liberal’s harsh cuts.

Labor has also saved ARENA by proposing additional offsetting savings to maintain the majority of ARENA’s funding, so that the Agency can continue its critical work. 

The Government has also committed to commence discussions with Labor about the transition to a modern, clean energy renewable energy system. 

Labor’s package delivers more savings over four years than the $5.997 billion first proposed by the Government.  In negotiating with the Government, Labor has developed fairer measures that will save the budget more.

This is a better, stronger and fairer set of measures, because of Labor’s constructive approach.

Labor remains concerned that Mr Turnbull and Scott Morrison have put our gold-plated AAA credit rating at risk.  Today’s announcement delivers on Labor’s strong commitment to help repair the national budget without attacking the most vulnerable in our community. 

Today’s package is only one step on the road to serious budget repair.  As the next step, the Government should support the rest of Labor’s savings package, which would deliver more than $8 billion in budget improvements over the forward estimates, and more than $80 billion in budget improvements over the medium term.

Labor has also developed a sensible and fair alternative to the Government’s superannuation package which will deliver $1.5 billion more to the budget without resorting to retrospective legislation.

The Government can resolve its superannuation shambles by working with Labor.

Labor also continues to call on the Government to drop its $50 billion ram raid on the Budget and not proceed with its big business tax cut.

The details of the agreement reached with the Government will see -

  • The Government caving and dropping its ‘Baby Bonus’ payment;
  • $800 million in funding secured for ARENA over five years;
  • Changes to the Energy Supplement measure, so that all existing categories of recipients (including those on Newstart and Pensioners), will continue to receive the modest supplement, except for people receiving Family Tax Benefit and Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Holders; 
  • The abolition of the Family Tax Benefit-A supplement for families with adjusted taxable incomes above $80,000;
  • Protecting Labor’s Child Dental Benefits Scheme by removing it from the legislation;
  • Removing the cuts that would see people with severe psychiatric conditions lose support; and
  • Labor commencing discussions with the Government to accelerate Australia’s transition to a modern, clean energy renewable energy system. 

Labor thanks for the Government for its engagement and reiterates that we are happy to work together to fix their superannuation mess and deliver budget repair which is fair.