PM vows a budget to fulfil people’s dreams

Malcolm Turnbull has promised his government’s second budget will help Australians “realise their dreams”.


And he has a three-word slogan to go with it: fairness, opportunity and security.

The prime minister wants to ensure Australians have the opportunity to get ahead through economic growth that provides a better-paying job, or helps them start and grow a business.

“To realise their dreams,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

New economic figures suggest people may already be on the brink of achieving those goals with business confidence striking its highest point since 2010 and job ads pointing to a sustained period of employment growth.

“In time this should be reflected in a pick-up in wage growth,” ANZ head of Australian economics David Plank says.

Mr Turnbull toured a forensics complex in Canberra to announce a $321 million boost for the Australian Federal Police’s domestic operations, the biggest increase in a decade in a further attempt to beef up national security.

The government will reportedly divert money from its aid pool to deliver this extra funding to the AFP and other security agencies.

“Once again it is a government robbing Peter to pay Paul,” Opposition Leader Bill Shorten told reporters in Canberra.

A day before the budget Treasurer Scott Morrison asked the Productivity Commission to hold a year-long inquiry aimed at ensuring Australia’s financial system is competitive and innovative.

The commission will consider how to improve consumer outcomes, the productivity and international competitiveness of the financial system and economy more broadly.

It will look at the level of concentration in key segments of the financial system while examining competition in the provision of personal deposit accounts and mortgages, as well as services and finance to small and medium businesses.

“It is important … that we understand what are the barriers and what are the things preventing customers getting a better deal,” Mr Morrison said.

The government announced a $100 million funding package for manufacturing, aimed at Victoria and South Australia which have suffered the brunt of the demise of car-making.

“We are absolutely committed to supporting the Australian manufacturing sector,” Mr Turnbull said.

The prime minister, who has just returned from the US after his first face-to-face meeting with President Donald Trump, said increased investment in US manufacturing was down to the prospect of lower taxes and affordable energy there.

That’s why he was taking decisive action to ensure Australia had affordable and adequate gas supplies, and why the government was sticking with 10-year plan to cut company taxes.

Meanwhile, Mr Morrison received some blunt advice from Australia’s richest woman Gina Rinehart – cut spending.

The multi-billionaire mining magnate wants reductions in red tape regulations, compliance burdens and tax rates.

“It’s very frustrating that there’s wastage going on and that so little attention, real attention, is given to making ourselves attractive for investment,” she told News Corp.