Treasurer Jim Chalmers’ budget – our take

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Energy price relief plan

Labor promised during the election campaign that energy bills would be reduced by $275 each year for each home by 2025. So far that hasn’t happened, and Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has brought up the “broken promise” as often as he can.

When Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was asked about cost-of-living relief recently, he said the budget would include measures to force down power bills. He told radio host Richard King’s Breakfast show: “Our energy price relief plan … is a $1.5 billion fund to provide support for people with energy bills by reducing them and that will have a significant impact. That’s just one of the measures that will be included in the budget.”

Payday super

Employers will need to pay workers superannuation on payday, rather than quarterly, from July 1 2026. It’s estimated that could add thousands of dollars to super accounts over time, especially for young workers.

Payday super “will be in the budget”, Chalmers said this week. “It’s just common sense to pay superannuation with wages. It’s a simple change, it will strengthen the system, and it will also strengthen people’s retirement balances.”

JobSeeker boosts for over-55s

The government is expected to boost welfare payments for people aged over 55. The move has been sold as a way to help women and the long-term unemployed.

“You’ll see on budget night what we intend to do about this,” Chalmers said. “I have made it really quite clear that one of the troubling developments is that the growth particularly in women over 55 in our unemployment numbers … It is something that concerns us, particularly for women over 55 who find it harder to get back into the workforce, particularly for the long-term unemployed.”

Vape ban

The government has vowed to spend $234 million to fight vaping. The goal is to ban recreational vaping altogether; officials worry the habit is creating a generation of nicotine addicts.

Gas tax

The petroleum resource rent tax could be subject to change. The tax applies to oil and gas projects in offshore federal waters, and Chalmers is considering a Treasury review of the levy, currently worth about $2 billion a year.

Stage three tax cuts

Asked how much the cuts were likely to cost, Chalmers said: “I don’t have that number for you today, but the important thing to remember about that number is another year comes into it in the 10-year profile and in the forward estimates profile, so the number will be bigger.

“It will be factored into the underlying cash balance in the budget, but it isn’t identified in the budget because it’s an old decision which has already been legislated. The budget itemises the new decisions, and our position on that hasn’t changed.”

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