Bonus to employ baby boomers

Employers will be given $10,000 bonuses if they hire - and keep - mature-age workers under a Budget initiative aimed at increasing workforce participation for over-50s.

The West Australian can reveal that the bonuses will be paid in four instalments, with employers paid $3000 after six months and another $2000 after a year.

After 18 months, employers will receive another $2000 if they have kept the worker and after two years, a final $3000 instalment is paid.

To qualify, the mature-age worker must have been out of work for six months. The program will start on July 1.

The measure builds on a coalition election policy that would have paid employers a maximum $3250 for taking on an older worker.

The trebling of the employer bonus will be one of several measures in tonight's Federal Budget aimed at getting more people into work.

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The disability support pension will be tightened to make it more difficult to access and many of those now receiving it will have their capacity for work retested.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the Budget would be fair to all Australians.

"By sharing the load, we lighten the load and together we can chip away at the debt and deficits that are costing Australians $1 billion every single month in interest, in dead money," he said yesterday.

Treasurer Joe Hockey is expected to lay out a plan to return the Budget to balance by 2018-19 with many tough spending cuts and tax increases.

Government backbenchers are angry at the prospect of the Gov-ernment breaking a key election promise not to increase taxes.

Mr Hockey will seek to placate their concern by arguing that even with the 2 per cent deficit tax on incomes of more than $180,000 and increased fuel excise, the Government will be cutting overall taxes on families and business.

Taking into account the mining and carbon taxes - neither of which will be abolished before July 1 - the Government estimates it will have reduced taxes by more than $15 billion since taking office.

In the coming financial year, it estimates taxes will be $5.7 billion lower than they would have been under Labor.

Mr Hockey will also claim the Government is restoring certainty and stability to the tax system.

He will make 67 separate tax changes in the Budget, many of which are a backlog left by the Gillard and Rudd governments. The Government was yesterday caught trying to take credit for a freeze in the wages of politicians and senior public servants that would have happened anyway.

At the weekend, Mr Hockey said the Government was writing to the Remuneration Tribunal to ask for the freeze, adding that he expected it be supported "in due course".

The independent tribunal revealed it had already decided on the freeze - which will last a year - last month. A letter from the Government to the tribunal was sent late last week.

The West Australian

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