12 May 2010

Australian Treasurer delivers no-frills Budget

6:01 am on 12 May 2010

Australia's Federal Treasurer says a rebound in the country's economic performance will erase this year's $A40 billion deficit and put the Budget back in surplus three years earlier than predicted.

Wayne Swan delivered his third Budget on Tuesday which lived up to its no-frills expectations, with no new tax cuts or increases in family assistance benefits, the ABC reports.

Another $A2.2 billion for health on top of the $A5.3 billion already announced, and the new controversial 40% tax on the resources industry, are also major features

Although the Budget contains none of the traditional pre-election sweeteners for voters, some will benefit from tax breaks on savings, measures to simplify tax returns, and the final round of tax cuts that were promised in 2007.

Mr Swan says the Government's stimulus package helped Australia "far outperform" the rest of the developed world to register growth of 1.3%.

He says the budget bottom line will return to surplus in three years - three years ahead of the schedule set out in the 2009 budget.

The budget allocated $A661 million to boost skills training and $A652 million for a Renewable Energy Future Fund.

Tax returns are to be simplified and tax breaks given for interest income up to $1,000.

Public transport received a boost, with $A1 billion going to the Australian Rail Track Corporation and $A71 million for a Sydney transport hub.