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The Guardian - AU
The Guardian - AU
Tory Shepherd (now) and Christopher Knaus (earlier)

Treasurer delivers budget speech – as it happened

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg
Budget 2022 live updates: treasurer Josh Frydenberg prepares to hand down the Australian federal budget which is expected to focus on cost of living relief. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

What we learned: Budget 2022-23

As expected, cost of living ruled the day. The treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, was spruiking the fuel excise cut, those tax offsets, and the relative strength of the economy.

That excise cut will give some short-term relief at the bowser, but as with most of the other measures, it’s “targeted” but “temporary”.

It was truly a pre-election budget, with money funnelled to critical seats and cashback offers for taxpayers. National security was high on the list, and we all just hope one day we’ll find out who came up with operation Redspice.

And keeping the Nationals on side was obviously front-of-mind, what with that extensive regional Australia package.

Debts and deficits as far as the eye can see barely make people blink these days.

If too much budget is barely enough, the whole team will be back tomorrow to keep pulling the various threads of this pre-election fiscal plan.

If you want to look at the yarns we’ve unspooled so far, click here.


More from the conga line of stakeholders and experts after the budget – the line seems to be almost running out now, with most voices having had their say.

Ian Henschke, from National Seniors, was upset the government didn’t do more to let pensioners get back into the workforce without their pension being affected. He called it a “missed opportunity” and said:

I don’t understand why they didn’t listen to us.

Helen Dalley-Fisher, of the Equality Alliance, claimed the budget had “forgotten” Australian women. She was critical that the women’s budget statement had less money than it did last year, and was critical the Coalition didn’t start paying superannuation on paid parental leave.

Annie Butler, the secretary of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Foundation, claimed aged care workers had been “let down” with no word on wage increases in the sector. She noted some “announcements around the edges” on training more people to go into the sector, including a $50m pledge to train 15,000 workers, but questioned how successful that program would be. She asked:

What is the point of training more people to go into a sector in complete crisis until the core issues are fixed?

Fix the staffing crisis.


James Brown, the chief executive of the Space Industry Association of Australia, has welcomed the announcement of more than $1bn towards developing satellites.

He said:

This is a significant investment to develop Australia’s first national civilian space mission in 40 years. It will mean we can begin to guarantee access to essential space services for weather, disaster monitoring, and science. In the next decade we will be able to design, build, test and launch satellites from Australia which is critical to protecting our space infrastructure and leveraging opportunities in the booming global space economy.

Quite the gear change at the procession of stakeholders addressing reporters at Parliament House in Canberra, with the oil and gas industry giving its response before making way for the Australian Conservation Foundation.

The chief executive of the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association, Andrew McConville, said the sector could “reinvigorate Australia’s economy” and ensure the reliability of the energy supply. He voiced support for initiatives to support low-emissions technologies and said innovation and cost-competitiveness was important in the global “war for capital”.

Freya Cole, of the Australian Conservation Foundation, then stepped up to the microphones to declare that Australians were “living through a climate and extinction crisis”. She criticised the projected reduction in climate spending and criticised fossil fuel subsidies.


Josh Butler took a look at that big spending in regional seats, for industrial hubs in key electorates:

The director of aged care at the United Workers Union, Carolyn Smith, said that despite providing some money for training there was “nothing extra for staff, wages or home care packages” in the budget.

Teresa, a home care worker from Newcastle, noted the 22 cent cut to the fuel excise – but said her fuel allowance is just 72 cents a litre, while petrol currently costs $2 a litre. Home care workers don’t take residents on shopping and other trips as a result of the cost squeeze.

Fuel prices are listed on a fuel price board at a petrol station.
Fuel prices are listed on a fuel price board at a petrol station. Photograph: Diego Fedele/AAP


We’ve had the spice ... now here’s the sugar and all things nice, from Paul Karp:


Redspice. You know you want it, and Daniel Hurst has it here for you:

Uniting Care said there were “a few welcome” measures in the budget, backing the women’s safety package and the one-off payments for pensioners.

But the charity said it was disappointed there was no sign of adding superannuation to paid parental leave or wages increases for aged care workers – two reforms Uniting Care said they would be pushing both major parties to commit to before the election.

Georgie Beatty, from the National Union of Students, said the $250 payments going to concession card holders “won’t even make next week’s rent”. She said students who travel great distances to get to class would be happy at the cut to the petrol excise, but “it’ll need much more than that … not band aid solutions”.

The president of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Omar Khorshid, slammed the government for a “lack of vision” on healthcare. He was heavily critical that the Coalition had still not taken any action on resolving the ongoing hospital funding crisis “blame game” between the federal and state governments, an issue several state premiers have been livid about for years.

Khorshid claimed GPs would be “let down” by the budget, but he was also calling on Labor to outline its health policies soon. He said he was waiting for the opposition to come to the table on health funding too, and that he was “very interested to talk to Labor and hear their vision”.

Walking frame in corridor of a nursing home
Uniting Care said it’s disappointed there was no sign of wages increases for aged care workers in the budget. Photograph: Westend61/Getty Images


Oh, did I mention yet that the budget banks on another Omicron wave this winter? Anne Davies takes a look at health spending:

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says he definitely knows how important climate change is, that’s why he mentioned it in his speech. Meanwhile, as Adam Morton reports:

Flooding in the suburb of Ballina, Northern NSW.
The reduction in spending across Australia’s clean energy agencies represents a 35% annual cut over four years. Photograph: Natalie Grono/The Guardian


The leader of the Greens, Adam Bandt, says Australia needed a budget that tackled the climate crisis, the inequality crisis and the housing crisis – but tonight’s document did none of those things.

Addressing reporters at Parliament House, Bandt said jobseekers were being left in poverty. He said pensions needed to increase by $250 a week, “not $250 an election”:

This budget will not keep you safe from the climate crisis, will not put an affordable roof over your head.

Bandt said the government had never correctly predicted wage growth and there was “no reason to believe they’ve got it right now”.

Ian Yates, the chief executive of the Council on the Ageing Australia, welcomed the cost-of-living relief for millions of older Australians. He said this year’s budget commitments on aged care did not rate alongside last year’s budget package.

Yates said he was disappointed by the absence or oral and dental health programs aimed at older Australians. He hoped pledged would be forthcoming by the parties in the upcoming federal election campaign.

Real estate in Dolphin Point, NSW.
The Greens say Australia needed a budget that tackled the housing crisis – which they say tonight’s has not achieved. Photograph: Blake Sharp-Wiggins/The Guardian


Reactions to the 2022 federal budget

Innes Willox, of the Australian Industry Group, said the government’s budget had to “walk a high wire” balancing act between dealing with short-term uncertainty and making long-term change.

He welcomed a focus on skills and apprenticeships, but was critical that the number of skilled migrant places wasn’t increased further – saying this was “deeply troubling” to business, claiming labour shortages was “the number one issue” some firms have.

Medicines Australia called it a “steady as she goes budget”, and praised “some great new listings of new innovative medicines”. The body also noted there needed to be continued investment in health.

Andrew McKellar, chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the budget was a “mixed bag”. ACCI backed the new national skills agreement, praising it as a “significant step forward”, but said it could have been “better designed”. McKellar echoed Willox in calling for higher skilled migration figures, saying future governments must set more ambitious benchmarks. He also backed the “very positive” tax deductions for training employees in digital skills.

Michele O’Neil, president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, savaged the government for not doing more on wages growth.

Nothing in this budget delivers real wages increases for working people. One off payments are not the same as wage increases,” she said:

That’s workers’ wages going backwards under the Morison government… all we have is one off payments that will be quickly eaten up.

O’Neil also rubbished Frydenberg’s claims earlier today that the looming 3.75% unemployment rate would lead to wages growth. She said that was “a theory that’s been disproven”:

What we see now is a break between what used to be a connection between the unemployment rate and people’s wages. That’s because we’ve got so many more people now in insecure work.


The PwC chief economist, Jeremy Thorpe, told reporters in Canberra the government had provided “additional, targeted and limited support” because it needed to be seen to be addressing cost of living pressures – which he said was “understandable, and relatively restrained”.

Asked whether this would add to inflationary pressures, he said one benefit of the halving of petrol excise is it will have a deflationary impact that should flow through to the rest of the economy.

John Falzon, from progressive thinktank Per Capita, said the budget was like the “last lolly bag” at a party, that “promises everything but contains next to nothing”.

Falzon criticised the government for “one-off fixes that are no fix at all”, warning that a worker earning $68,000 faces real pay cuts of $600 (due to inflation outstripping wage growth).


Cassandra Goldie, from the Australian Council of Social Services, told reporters the budget is one people “can’t rely on” because they “needed permanent solutions but got temporary fixes”.

Goldie said a jobseeker living on $46 per day might benefit from a one-off $250 payment for one or two weeks, but they face rising costs like rent every week.

Although parents can now divide the 20 weeks of paid parental leave between them as they like, there was “no extension” in the length of parental leave, and no increase in the payment level beyond the minimum wage, she said.

Frydenberg is now ducking a question on his role (his budget’s role) in whether or not the Coalition will be re-elected:

Obviously I’m focussing on winning the next election and i’m very proud of the fact the Australian economy now leads the world.

I’m just interrupting briefly with this little look at the lockup press conference – particularly because a lot of these lines are starting to be repeated.

The treasurer has a captive audience in the budget lockup and holds a press conference in the afternoon for the internet-deprived journalists.

Josh Frydenberg and the finance minister, Simon Birmingham, take the podium and give short statements along similar lines to the treasurer’s budget speech.

“This budget demonstrates Australia’s world-leading economic recovery,” Frydenberg said. “Australia’s economic reboot has been nothing short of remarkable … this budget has turned the corner.”

He said because of the recovery the bottom line has improved by more than $100bn, four years earlier than previously forecast. The cost of living measures are “temporary and targeted”. Tell me if this is getting repetitive.

Birmingham said the hard work and resilience of Australians have delivered these economic outcomes but that “we remain in very uncertain times”.

The first question is whether this is just a “spend-a-thon” budget.

Frydenberg said he reckons families will quite like paying less at the bowser, because petrol is a “non-negotiable” cost, and talks up those tax offsets.

The next question is also about the cost of living measures, and any potential effect on inflation.

Treasury has factored in everything, Frydenberg said (in short).

On the cuts to the petrol excise (22 cents off a litre), Frydenberg said the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission had made it “very clear” that they would ensure the lower costs are passed on to customers. “It will take a couple of weeks for these reductions to pass through,” he said, adding it could take a bit longer in the regions.

Sarah Martin asked about the funding for the regions and whether that was delivered as part of a deal with the Nationals over an agreement on net zero emissions.

We all love the regions, Frydenberg said (I’m paraphrasing):

We are agreed Liberals and Nationals that our regions are hubs for economic growth…. [we] agree this is a priority for jobs. It’s a new frontier, it’s where we derive our productivity and our growth.

Frydenberg said people have moved to the regions because of the pandemic, and that about two thirds of Australian exports are generated from the regions. Regional Australia is a “wealth generator for all Australians”, he said.

Isn’t Covid still a risk and why is it so hard to mention climate change?

This is an interesting question. The budget assumes that Covid will keep on keeping on, that there will be another Omicron wave over winter, and that there will be ongoing local waves.

Frydenberg talked about all the billions they’ve poured into health during Covid, setting up a surge workforce and spending more money on health and hospitals.

And it isn’t hard to talk about climate change, he said, he definitely talks about climate change and zero net emissions in his speech.

It’s an oddly lacklustre press conference, considering the import of this budget – maybe it’s just because they used to be jam-packed affairs, and now they’re Covid calm. Anyway, many of the important questions come after people are out of lock up and have a chance to hear reactions and properly study individual budget lines.

Diners enjoy lunch after density limits of 1 person per 2 square meters were scrapped for many venues following a change in New South Wales Covid restrictions in Sydney
Simon Birmingham said the hard work and resilience of Australians have delivered good economic outcomes but that “we remain in very uncertain times”. Photograph: Dean Lewins/AAP


Infrastructure announcements have been made in critical election flash points, Sales points out, or as she calls them “politically desirable” spots. The regions are the new frontiers, says Frydenberg, pushing through the saloon doors:

One of the more exciting aspects of this budget is our investment into new economic frontiers.

Just a coincidence, then? Pretty much, Frydenberg says:

Those seats are largely held in National hands.

A communications tower is seen at sunset in the NSW outback town of Bourke
A communications tower in the NSW outback town of Bourke. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP


On the plan to remove the fuel exise cut after six months, Sales asks Frydenberg if that’s a “dirty bomb” for Labor (because the prices will shoot back up once the cut is reversed).

Unsurprisingly, he does not confirm that it is, in fact, a potential dirty bomb for a potential future Labor government.


The treasurer is now doing the traditional post-budget interview with the ABC. Leigh Sales is asking him about potential inflation lifts from his spending plans. And she says every budget she’s ever covered has been somewhat optimistic about wage rises. He says:

I wouldn’t want to correct you but I have to. In last year’s budget I forecast wages that were lower [than forecast].

And he points to the low unemployment rate. People will be competing for workers, he says:

As more people get into work they’ll see upward pressure on wages. Employers will pay what they need to get the right workers.


By the way, right next to the baby blue Barnaby book (also known as the regional ministerial budget statement) is a slender tome called the women’s budget statement.

When journos file in to lockup they are anticipating certain information. Someone’s on infrastructure, someone else on debt and deficit. Someone’s searching for the elusive “black hole”, while others focus on the finer details of budget paper No 2, or parse the treasurer’s budget speech for their readers.

And they thought we wouldn’t notice when they didn’t put out a women’s statement a couple of years ago.

Anyway, it’s back, even if it does sometimes seem like someone cobbled it together from anything that could possibly affect women.

The minister for women, Marise Payne, says there’s a $2.1bn package focused on “three key priorities – women’s safety, economic security and leadership, and health and wellbeing”.

She says:

We know that these priorities are mutually reinforcing. When we achieve better outcomes in one area, we see positive benefits across all areas.

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne.
Australian foreign affairs minister, Marise Payne. Photograph: Bianca de Marchi/AAP


We’re about to start bringing you all the reactions to the budget, but before we do, here is the wind up from Frydenberg’s speech. The election will be called quick smart, and you can bet these lines will form the spine of the talking points. Please feel free to turn it into a rap or a TikTok:

Despite the challenges, our economic recovery is leading the world. This is not a time to change course. This is a time to stick to our plan.

A plan that delivers cost of living relief now. A plan that creates jobs for the long‑term. A plan that guarantees the essential services. A plan that invests more in the defence of our nation ... this is a time to stick to our plan.

A plan for a strong economy and a stronger future.

We will deliver.


There was an accusation that there was not a lot on climate change in the budget. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he mentions it in his speech, and he did:

Australia is on the pathway to net zero emissions by 2050 and playing its part in responding to the critical global challenge of climate change.

Technology, not taxes, will get us there.

Already, Australia has the highest uptake of rooftop solar in the world.

We are investing in clean hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, batteries and large‑scale solar.

Tonight, we make further investments in microgrids to support regional and remote communities that don’t otherwise have access to the grid with small‑scale renewable energy projects like solar and wind.

A low‑emissions future with reliable and affordable power is critical to our plan for a strong economy.


And some more details from treasurer Josh Frydenberg on that critical regional Australia package: Frydenberg said:

Announcing an unprecedented regional investment package that includes transformational investments in agriculture, infrastructure and energy in the Hunter, the Pilbara, the Northern Territory and north and central Queensland.

These long‑term investments will unlock new economic frontiers and grow our national economy.

[Our] regional package also includes major new investments in water projects, a new regional accelerator, telecommunications and health.

  • A new $7.4bn investment in more dams and water projects to improve vital water security and expand irrigation.
  • A new $2bn regional accelerator program to invest in skills, education infrastructure, export market development and supply chain resilience for our regions.
  • A new $1.3bn telecommunications package to expand mobile coverage across 8,000km of regional transport routes.
A road train drives a dirt road near Karijini National Park passing the Solomon Mine in the Pilbara Region in Western Australia
Treasurer Josh Frydenburg announced an investment package for regional Australia including projects in the Pilbara region in Western Australia. Photograph: Krystle Wright/The Guardian


It’s treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s fourth budget, and arguably his most important. He’s just finished, and we’ll see how Australia reacts. Meanwhile, some highlights:

On the economy:

By the end of the forward estimates, the Budget is $100bn better off compared to last year. More people in work, fewer on welfare. Repairing the Budget without increasing taxes. The deficit for 2022‑23 is expected to be $78bn or 3.4% of GDP.

Over the next three years, this will more than halve to 1.6%.

Net debt as a share of the economy will peak at 33.1% at 30 June 2026.

On the floods:

Our thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones, homes and businesses in the catastrophic floods across New South Wales and south‑east Queensland.

Nothing I say can overcome the personal pain and loss of so many Australians.

On that fuel excise cut:

For the next 6 months, Australians will save 22 cents a litre every time they fill up their car.

A family with 2 cars who fill up once a week could save around $30 a week or around $700 over the next 6 months.

Whether you’re dropping the kids at school, driving to and from work or visiting family and friends, it will cost less.

This cut in fuel excise, which takes effect from midnight tonight, will flow through to the bowser over the next 2 weeks.

The competition watchdog will monitor retailers to make sure these savings are passed on in full.


Katharine Murphy again from the chamber as treasurer Josh Frydenberg continues his speech – she says Labor MPs are chatting among themselves, and:

If this is lift off for the election, it’s a slow jog so no one pulls a hamstring.

The Budget papers for 2022-23.
The Budget papers for 2022-23. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


And once you’ve digested Katharine Murphy’s piece, here’s a brilliant interactive from Nick Evershed:

Before we go any further at all (bearing in mind the treasurer is still speaking, but I linked to the full text below) ... Katharine Murphy’s analysis of the 2022-23 budget is in:


In lockup, we got a late delivery of the defence media statement, hand-delivered.

Why the delay? It might have something to do with veterans’ affairs and defence personnel minister, Andrew Gee, declaring he would quit cabinet if the backlog of veterans’ claims wasn’t cleared.

There he is, in the release, listing a bunch of things to be done for veterans, including:

An initial $22.8m will fund 90 extra Department of Veterans’ Affairs staff to cut the backlog of unprocessed claims, and this will be followed by a further $73.2m for additional staff and other measures to further improve the veteran claims processing system and reduce waiting times.

Just a small note on that: the budget itself only includes the initial $22.8m over two years from 2022-23. The follow-up money is more of a public pledge by the government rather than a budgeted line item.


Some early reactions from the other side:

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s whole speech is here, for those who are hanging on every word. Katharine Murphy reports a big “here, here” from the Nationals Barnaby Joyce and David Littleproud as he talks about the regional package.

(They won’t say this bit out loud but obviously to keep the Coalition coalesced, the Liberals have to keep the Nationals on side).


Guardian Australia’s political editor, Katharine Murphy, is in the chamber watching treasurer Josh Frydenberg speak. She says you’d “describe the atmosphere in the chamber as attentive but low energy, at least so far”.

The Treasurer Josh Frydenberg delivers the 2022-23 budget in the house of representatives.
The Treasurer Josh Frydenberg delivers the 2022-23 budget in the house of representatives. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


If you need to wrap your head around the budget quickly, but also get the context, here’s Guardian Australia’s chief political correspondent, Sarah Martin’s take:


I can’t stop thinking about Redspice. REDSPICE? Did the words or the acronym come first? Did they workshop the “spice” bit, or the “red” bit? Is it just because of the blandness of lockup food that I can’t stop thinking about cayenne, or paprika, or a shiny habañero?

Even before Russia invaded Ukraine (and China watched), the government was itching to make national security a key plank of its election campaign (remember the Manchurian candidate?).

So it’s no surprise that this budget has muscled-up. There’s even a new project codenamed Redspice (definitely nothing to do with China). It’s a slightly tortured acronym for resilience, effects, defence, space, intelligence, cyber and enablers.

Redspice is part of a $9.9bn investment in defence and cybersecurity over 10 years.

There’s the ongoing funding for operations in the Middle East, $10bn over the long term towards a new submarine base, there are drones, choppers, tanks and more.

And of course, warships and those planned Aukus submarines (and no, we still don’t know how much they’ll cost).


There’s a grab bag of bits and bobs that loosely come under “essential services”.

We’ve already seen the infrastructure spending bonanza. Guardian Australia revealed on Tuesday that just 15% of the promised projects were endorsed by Infrastructure Australia, and more than 50% of the projects in individual electorates were going to marginal seats.

This not-quite-post-pandemic budget promises to shore up supply chains and boost manufacturing in Australia, including a promise to make mRNA vaccines in Victoria, and to make it cheaper for Australians to get patents on goods they invent.

Billions have been announced for regional investments (read: keeping the Nationals and their leader onside) including dams, telecommunications, better health services and a skills package.

Anyone hoping for game-changing spending on climate change, the NDIS or aged care will be disappointed.

Floodwater inundate a road on March 29, 2022 in Lismore, Australia.
Floodwater inundate a road on March 29, 2022 in Lismore, Australia. Photograph: Dan Peled/Getty Images


The government is promising new jobs, even with the predicted unemployment level of 3.75%.

There’s $2.8bn for the “take-up and completion” of trade apprenticeships, $5,000 for new apprentices and $15,000 for employers who take them on.

And there’s a $120 tax deduction for every $100 a small business spends on training employees (up to $100,000).

Frydenberg says:

Australia’s unemployment rate is heading towards a 50-year low. We have a historic opportunity to get young Australians into skilled, secure and well-paid jobs.

The dignity of work is important for all Australians.


Treasurer details 'cost of living' package

The urgency to address cost of living pressures grew in the weeks leading up to the budget as pandemic-related issues (including house prices) crossed paths with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which saw petrol prices spike. The budget expands paid parental leave and makes it more flexible, promises cheaper medicines, and a range of other measures, including:

  • The fuel excise will be halved – from 44 cents a litre to 22 – for six months. The government estimates a family with two cars that fills up once a week will save $700 over that time. (Chris Richardson from Deloitte Access Economics called this “dumb”, and others raised concerns rising inflation will gobble up any savings).
  • Australia’s 10 million low and middle income earners will get a one-off tax offset of $420 – this comes on top of the existing offset. That means up to $1,500 for singles and $3,000 for couples.
  • A $250 one-off payment to pensioners, carers, veterans, job seekers, eligible self-funded retirees and concession card holders.
  • An expansion of the first homebuyer grant.

Frydenberg said it was “a new temporary, targeted and responsible cost of living package to ease these [cost of living] pressures”.

Motorists drive past a fuel price display in Sydney.
Motorists drive past a fuel price display in Sydney. Photograph: Rick Rycroft/AP


The treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, has begun his budget speech in the House of Representatives, introducing the plan the Coalition hopes will help them pick a path to another miracle victory. He says:

Tonight, as we gather, war rages in Europe. The global pandemic is not over. Devastating floods have battered our communities.

We live in uncertain times.

But all is not lost, Frydenberg says:

[Australia] remains resilient. Australians remain strong. We have overcome the biggest economic shock since the Great Depression.

Our recovery leads the world.

The 2022-23 budget papers – including a chunky sky blue regional Australia statement from Barnaby Joyce – have now been released. Despite the piles of paper and files of releases, much of this critically important pre-election budget had already been dropped to the press.

What we have now, though, is the detail. Here’s a sneak peak:

  • The fuel excise will be halved – from 44 cents a litre to 22 – for six months.
  • Australia’s 10 million low and middle income earners will get a one-off tax offset of $420 – on top of the existing offset.
  • There is also a one-off $250 payment to pensioners, carers, veterans, job seekers, eligible self-funded retirees and concession card holders.

What used to be the headline figure – the nation’s deficit – is set to hit an eye-watering $78bn. Frydenberg’s message will be that it could have been worse, and that it will get better – he says it will halve as a percentage of GDP over the next three years. There is also that prediction that unemployment will dip to 3.75% next year, boosting income tax revenue and slashing the cost of welfare.

Frydenberg has made it clear where this budget’s focus lies: cost of living relief, jobs, jobs, jobs (and jobs), investments in essential services, and defence and national security.

The Guardian Australia team has been feverishly fossicking through the budget papers, jittery with caffeine and shaky from the sugar hits. Photographer-at-large Mike Bowers is with the team in Canberra – Katharine Murphy, Sarah Martin, Daniel Hurst, Josh Butler, Paul Karp, Adam Morton and Greg Jericho. Joining them (virtually) in Sydney are Lenore Taylor, Anne Davies, Elias Visontay, Peter Hannam and Nick Evershed.


Just five minutes to go until the budget is released. There have been a couple of last-minute revelations about the contents of the budget, which we’ve covered already. They include:

  • The budget will give a one-off increase to the low and middle income tax offset – the temporary tax offset for those earning $126,000 or less. That offset currently pays from $255 to $1,080, depending on your income. The changes would now give between $675 and $1,500, paid out from 1 July. About 10 million people will get $420 on average.
  • An almost $9bn package to improve Australia’s cybersecurity and intelligence capabilities, designed to deal with changing security threats in the Asia-Pacific, according to the ABC.
  • A one-off payment of $250 for welfare recipients and pensioners, designed to assist with cost of living pressures.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg arrives at the ministerial entrance of Parliament House in Canberra this morning
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Something to bear in mind when we inevitably hear the constant refrain of “working families” in tonight’s proceedings:

So, what will be the big takeaway from this budget?

Will there be bold reforms? That’s unlikely, said economics commentator Jessica Mizrahi.

She said that it’s a safer bet the government will be writing cheques like there’s no tomorrow, a firm eye on the election.

It’s not likely we will see a jobkeeper or NDIS-scale program on the papers this budget night. However, it is unmistakably an election year. While the economy is growing, it’s still getting back on its feet. Cost-of-living pressures are real and growing.

Maybe money can’t buy love, but spending can buy votes – or so politicians hope.

Put these things together and it’s a safe bet that the chequebook will be out. Speculation to date is focused on booze and bowsers. If the whispers are right, cheques will be made out to motorists (cutting or freezing the fuel excise) and beer drinkers (cutting the draught beer excise).

We will also get an important sense of just how big the pre-election promises are likely to be. Each budget contains a line for “contingency reserves”. One part of contingency reserves is “decisions taken but not yet announced”. This is code for new spending that the government has decided on but does not yet want to disclose. The number is reliably largest in the period before an election.


Release of the Australian federal budget 2022-23 imminent

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the 2022-23 budget.

We are just 30 minutes away from showtime. It’s an election budget, so you can expect plenty of sweeteners dressed up as ‘cost-of-living’ measures.

Here is what we know about the budget so far:

  • The government has promised a cut to fuel excise, to reduce the high costs of petrol due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The 44 cents a litre excise could be cut by up to 20 cents.
  • The budget is reportedly going to give a one-off increase to the low and middle income tax offset – the temporary tax offset for those earning $126,000 or less. That offset currently pays from $255 to $1,080, depending on your income. The changes would now give between $675 and $1,500, paid out from 1 July, according to the ABC. About 10 million people will get $420 on average.
  • Welfare recipients and pensioners are expected to receive a one-off $250 payment. The payment is also billed as relief to cost-of-living pressures
  • The budget will include $16bn in new infrastructure funding. A Guardian Australia analysis of the 144 projects being funded by the government in Tuesday’s budget shows that just 21 are included on Infrastructure Australia’s current list of priority projects.
  • An expansion is expected of the home guarantee scheme, which helps first home buyers get into the market by placing government as the guarantor of the loan. The government will make 35,000 guarantees each year, up from the current 10,000, from 1 July.
  • About $365.3m will be spent on getting an extra 35,000 apprentices and trainees get into a job, through extensions to the boosting apprenticeship commencement wage subsidy.
  • The government has also promised $480m to improve NBN infrastructure in regional, rural and remote areas.
The treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, arrives at the ministerial entrance of Parliament House in Canberra this morning
The treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, arrives at the ministerial entrance of Parliament House in Canberra this morning. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


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