Australia PM Malcolm Turnbull promised tax cuts, infrastructure spend in federal budget

Vastavam web: Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Monday promised tax cuts for lower income earners and flagged a multibillion dollar infrastructure spend, on the eve of a federal budget seen as the unofficial start of election campaigning.Turnbull’s center-right Liberal-National government is under pressure to deliver voter incentives in Tuesday’s budget for the fiscal year ending June 2019, amid a banking sector scandal and falling support in the polls, while also fulfilling a promise to return finances to a surplus as soon as possible.

“We are doing everything we can to ease the burden of cost of living pressures on Australian families,” Turnbull told reporters in Sydney, as he unveiled part of a A$24.5 billion, 10-year road and rail infrastructure package that is expected to be a cornerstone of the budget. “That is why we have got, you will see tomorrow, important measures relating to tax.”But Treasurer Scott Morrison on Sunday warned voters not to expect “mammoth cuts” to taxes, while declining to comment on speculation the revenue increase would also allow the government to reveal a return to surplus a year earlier than forecast.

The government must hold a federal election by May 18, 2019, and Turnbull has made clear it won’t be called before the start of the new year.Deloitte Access Economics has estimated that the corporate tax take has risen by A$36.2 billion from a year ago and individual income tax by A$10.6 billion.Australia is continuing to rebalance itself away from a once-in-century mining investment boom that helped it become the only OECD country to escape recession during the global financial crisis.

Morrison has already flagged a corporate tax cut to 25 percent, from the current 30 percent, despite failing to push the measure through the parliament, where the government has a majority of just one seat. He has argued the cut is needed to keep Australia competitive for investors, but the opposition Labor Party has said it’s a meaningless “zombie cut” without parliamentary support.