Federal Budget 2018: Likely winners and losers

Pensioners, retirees, low and middle-income earners are tipped to be some of the biggest winners when Treasurer Scott Morrison hands down the Federal Budget tonight.

There remains much speculation as to how the Federal Government handles the 2018-2019 budget, its last before the next election.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has promised it will help Australians with the rising cost of living while guaranteeing the funding of essential services.

In the lead-up to tonight’s reveal, Yahoo7 News takes a look at who’s expected to be the big winners and losers in the budget to be announced tonight, starting from 7.30pm AEST.

The federal budget will be handed down in Canberra tonight. Source: AAP

Tax cuts: Relief for low and middle-income earners

Personal tax cuts for low and middle-income earners are expected to be a major feature of Treasurer Scott Morrison’s third budget tonight, although it is unclear what form they will take.

“We are doing everything we can to ease the burden of cost of living pressures on Australian families,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Sydney on Monday.

“That is why we have got important measures relating to tax and you will see important measures relating to energy.”

Personal tax cuts have long been tipped to be a cornerstone of tonight’s budget. Source: AAP

However, Mr Morrison attempted to downplay mounting speculation on the significance of the cuts, saying they won’t be “mammoth”, but they will be affordable.

The Australian newspaper reported tax relief would come through increasing the low-income tax offset while the budget would promise tax cuts for higher income brackets by 2024.

At present workers with a taxable income less than $66,667 get this offset.

The maximum tax offset of $445 applies to incomes of $37,000 or less and this amount is reduced by 1.5 cents for each dollar over $37,000.

Seven News will bring you all the latest from the Federal Budget as it is delivered live from 7.30pm.

Welfare: No increase in unemployment benefits

No extra funding is expected for Australian’s receiving unemployment benefits. Source: AAP

Treasurer Scott Morrison has poured cold water on growing calls to increase unemployment benefits in tonight’s budget.

A rare alliance of business, industry and community groups is calling for an increase to the New Start allowance, arguing the rate is so low it makes it hard to search for work.

“Well, there were 410,000 jobs created last year, which I think provide a counter-factual to that,” Mr Morrison told Fairfax Media.

Liberal MP Julia Banks threw the cat among the pigeons after claiming she could live on the $40 per day jobless payment, with critics quick to point out she owned a handful of houses and drew generous allowances.

Health: Cheaper drugs and no Medicare levy hike

The government is also finding the money to deliver free whooping cough vaccines for every pregnant Australian woman from July. Source: Getty

Sufferers of spinal muscular atrophy will have access to a life-saving drug for a fraction of the cost, as the government makes a suite of pre-budget health announcements.

Spinraza will be made available on the PBS from June 1 this year for all patients under 18, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt revealed on Sunday.

It would have cost more than $367,850 a year for the medicine but it will now be $39.50 per script with concessional patients paying just $6.40.

The Government has already said it’s not going ahead with a 0.5 per cent hike in the Medicare levy to help pay for the national disability insurance scheme.

The new budget is also tipped to see tens of thousands of men get Medicare-funded MRI scans for prostate cancer checks.

At least 200,000 women are set to receive $200 towards 3D breast cancer screening.

The government is also finding the money to deliver free whooping cough vaccines for every pregnant Australian woman from July.

The vaccine is being added to the national immunisation program at a cost of $39.5 million.

More than $80 million has been pledged for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Budget boost for aged care, pensioners

More reforms to home care packages for older Australians are expected. Source: AAP

Retirees and older Australians will get a multi-million dollar boost in the federal budget, with Treasurer Scott Morrison announcing a specific centrepiece aged-care statement aimed at clawing back support from older voters.

Mr Morrison’s package will fund a further 20,000 new places for home care to help the aged stay in their own homes longer, while increasing the amount aged pensioners may earn without losing part of their pension.

The Treasurer will announce the measures on Tuesday as the Coalition government tries to win back support from voters disaffected by its superannuation tax and pension reforms and past cuts to the aged-care budget worth more than $2 billion, News Corp Australia reports.

The promise of 20,000 new places for home care will also see a four-tier split in support for various services as the government helps tackle the current 150,000 people on a priority waiting list.

Extra funding for Lifeline

Lifeline will receive a $33 million cash injection to boost its 24-hour telephone service. Source: Getty

Ahead of today’s budget, Malcolm Turnbull and Mr Hunt pledged a $33.8 million cash injection to boost mental health service Lifeline’s 24-hour telephone service.

The funding will help the charity answer more calls and train more staff.

The prime minister praised the work of the organisation’s thousands of volunteers.

“Their love changes and saves lives,” he said in a social media video about the announcement.

Victoria to cash in on record infrastructure budget

NSW will have to be content with a smaller slice of the federal budget infrastructure pie because the state has already received a good helping of funds from the Commonwealth.

Only $1.5 billion of new national infrastructure spending will flow to NSW, against $7.8 billion going to Victoria.

On Monday, the federal coalition announced nearly $1 billion for a Coffs Harbour bypass on the Pacific Highway in northern NSW.

It will also commit to $400 million for Sydney’s Port Botany rail duplication between Mascot and Botany and $50 million for a business case into a rail link from St Marys to the new Badgerys Creek airport.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced $400 million for Sydney’s Port Botany rail duplication between Mascot and Botany. Source: AAP

Queensland is tipped to receive a $3.3 billion upgrade for the Bruce Highway, $1.5 billion for northern Australian strategic roads, $1 billion for the M1 Pacific Highway and $300 million for the Brisbane Metro project.

South Australian road and rail projects will receive a $1.8 billion allocation, $220 million of which will go towards finishing the Gawler rail electrification project.

A further $160 million will be used to duplicate Port Augusta’s Joy Baluch Bridge with the remainder to be allocated to the South Road upgrade.

“If the money is in the budget… I’ll be the first to applaud it,” State opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas told reporters on Monday, but admitted he had his doubts over the Federal Government’s commitment.

Tasmania will receive more than $900 million for road and rail upgrades including money for a long-awaited cross-river bridge north of Hobart.

Canberra on Monday pledged $461 million towards a replacement for the 72-year-old bridge that crosses the River Derwent at Bridgewater as part of a national infrastructure package.

The Northern Territory will receive $280 million for upgrades to two major outback highways including $180 million for the Central Arnhem Road as well as $100 million to upgrade the Buntine Highway.

There is also $1.5 billion for the Roads of Strategic Importance – Northern Australia Package, and $160 million to seal more sections of the Outback Way across the continent.

Education: Schools, unis in the budget spotlight

A new child care and early learning system will commence at the start of the next financial year. Source: AAP

Needs-based funding is set to deliver an extra $23.5 billion to schools over the coming decade.

A $271 million Community Child Care Fund for regional and disadvantaged communities will also feature in the budget.

An agreement has yet to be reached for a Gonski 2.0 school reform yet, however it is expected to start in 2019.

A new child care and early learning system will commence on July 2.

A one-year extension of preschool will be introduced into 2019 at cost of $440 million, while extra funding for school chaplains is also expected.

Universities expect 10,000 fewer students to be enrolled this year because of the two-year freeze in funding announced by the federal government in December.

Funding will be kept at 2017 levels until 2020 in an attempt to save $2 billion.

But Universities Australia says the short-term savings could cost the national economy up to $12 billion over the next 20 years.

Morrison raises a glass to small-batch beer brewers

Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison lifts a keg during a visit to Capital Brewing Co in Canberra. Small batch brewers are set to be a big winner from tonight’s budget. Source: AAP

A bizarre beer tax that slugs craft brewers 40 per cent more for using smaller kegs will be axed in the federal budget.

Currently, draught beer sold in kegs exceeding 48 litres is taxed at lower rates compared with beer sold in smaller kegs.

“We are changing the rules to ensure that small breweries like this and distilleries around the country can actually compete on the same level playing field as the big guys,” Treasurer Scott Morrison told reporters at Capital Brewing Co in Canberra.

The federal budget will extend concessional draught beer excises to smaller kegs, and increase the amount beverage companies can claim back at a cost of $85 million over four years.

A tax that unfairly slugs craft brewers will be axed in the federal budget, Scott Morrison says. Source: AAP

Labor MP Anthony Albanese, who visited the Willie the Boatman brewery in Sydney on Friday, described the “common sense change” as a victory for people power.

“Craft brewers deserve to operate on a level playing field with the big multinational beer brands,” he said.

“And beer drinkers should pay the same regardless of what brand of beer they enjoy.”

There are about 380 craft brewers across Australia employing about 2400 people.

New research fund for Barrier Reef 

A research fund into coral bleeching will form part of a $500 million cash injection to rescue the Great Barrier Reef. Source: Reuters

A $500 million Great Barrier Reef rescue plan will be funded including programs to tackle run-off from farming, the destructive crown-of-thorns starfish, and fund new research on coral bleaching.

Seven News will bring you all the latest from the Federal Budget as it is delivered live from 7.30pm.

Written by Sam Hussey with AAP.