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Federal Budget expected to cut fuel prices

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Pressure at the fuel pump could be eased slightly if the federal government follows through on an expected temporary slash to the fuel excise.

But, Finance Minister Simon Birmingham remains tight-lipped about exactly how much the excise will be cut as part of the upcoming budget.

“We do recognise that Australians have cost of living pressures in their household budgets and so what they will see in this budget is something carefully framed to deal with those short term issues,” he told ABC radio on Monday. 

The Australian newspaper reports there is expected to be a cut in the excise of between 10 to 20 cents per litre for six months, to help ease the cost of living. 

Tuesday night’s Federal Budget will also include more help for first home buyers. 

The Home Guarantee Scheme will double to 50,000 places to support more first home buyers with a five per cent deposit.

There will be an additional 35,000 places available for first home buyers, 5,000 places for single parents and 10,000 places for people who buy or build a new home in a regional area.

Housing Minister Michael Sukkar says to date there have been no defaults on loans since the program began three years ago. 

“It’s (the government’s) program, it’s our scheme and we’re expanding it because it’s been so successful and we’re so proud of it,” he added.

Yet opposition spokesman Jim Chalmers says the government’s housing announcement copies Labor’s election commitment to help first home buyers in regional areas.

“They’ve copied our policy today for regional first time buyers – that’s a good thing as far as we’re concerned – it won’t solve the whole problem but we’ll have more to say about that,” he said.

A further $17.9 billion will go towards new and existing infrastructure projects under the government’s 10-year rolling investment pipeline.

The overall program will amount to a record $120 billion.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government’s investment was keeping Australians moving and supported thousands of local jobs across the country.

“Continuing to provide record future funding for road and rail projects is a key part of our economic plan for the long term to keep our economy strong,” he explained.

“By investing in these projects we are delivering the infrastructure that the Australian economy needs to grow, to get Australians home sooner and safer, and generate thousands of jobs and new opportunities for small businesses right across the country.”

The latest announcement ahead of Tuesday’s budget comes on top of a host of commitments in recent weeks worth tens of billions of dollars.

BREAKDOWN BY JURISDICTION OF NEW INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING:

(Jurisdiction – spending – job creation, both direct and indirect)

  • NSW – $3.3 billion – more than 10,000
  • Vic – $3.3 billion – more than 6500
  • Qld – $3.9 billion – more than 11,000
  • WA – $2.1 billion – more than 5,500
  • SA – $2.8 billion – more than 2,000
  • Tas – $639 million – more than 2,500
  • NT – $361 million – more than 1,000
  • ACT – $51 million – around 325
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