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What’s in the Opposition Budget Reply?

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Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has outlined his vision in his Budget reply speech, vowing to cut migration and crack down on knife crime.
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has outlined his vision for Australia in his Budget reply speech, vowing to cut migration and crack down on knife crime.

Federal Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has delivered his Budget Reply — the Coalition’s formal response to the Government’s 2024/25 Budget.

The Budget Reply is an opportunity for the Opposition to lay out its criticisms of the Government’s Budget measures. It’s also a chance to outline the Opposition’s alternative spending plans.

In a speech in Parliament on Thursday night, Dutton promised to reduce migration, expand a ‘super for housing’ scheme, and tighten knife laws if the Coalition wins the next election.

Here’s what you need to know.

2024 Budget

The Federal Budget is the Government’s key economic document. It details two things: where the government will allocate its money (spending), and how it will pay for it (revenue).

Earlier this week, the Government released the 2024/25 Budget, outlining its five main spending priorities, which included cost of living relief and building more homes.

After the Government hands down its Budget, the Opposition prepares a formal response to it. So, what did the Coalition have to say about this year’s Budget?

Migration

A federal election is due within a year, meaning the Coalition’s 2024/25 Budget reply provided some insight into how it will run its next campaign.

This includes a promise to cut permanent migration by a quarter in its first two years of power, reducing the intake of permanent migrants from 185,000 to 140,000.

Around 20,000 refugees arrive in Australia each year, via the Government’s humanitarian program. Dutton has pledged to cut refugee arrivals through this program to 13,750.

Housing

Dutton claimed the Government “is bringing in 1.67 million migrants over five years — more than the population of Adelaide“.

The Opposition Leader also outlined some policy proposals to ease the housing crisis.

Dutton promised measures to block temporary residents and foreign investors from buying a home in Australia for two years, to reduce demand for housing.

Before last night, the Coalition had already committed to a ‘super for housing’ scheme, where first home buyers could use some of their superannuation to pay for a house deposit.

Dutton vowed to expand the prospective scheme to include “separated women to help restart their lives”.

Moreover, he said eligible people would be able to access up to $50,000 of their superannuation.

Crime

Dutton expressed the need for “leadership in tackling knife crime”.

After a recent spate of stabbings, including the Bondi Junction Westfield attack, he vowed to bring in “uniform knife laws” across Australia in coordination with all the states and territories.

This would include limiting the sale of knives to minors and “dangerous individuals”, as well as giving extra powers to police to search people using detection devices.

Response

Shortly after the Budget Reply, Senior Government Minister Jason Clare said Dutton’s proposed policies failed to include “anything to help people who are struggling to make ends meet”.

Clare said the Opposition’s proposals lacked detail, including how much they would cost taxpayers.

“If you don’t [know] what it means for the economy, then this policy isn’t worth the paper that it’s written on,” Clare said.

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