SYDNEY, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Following are the highlights of Australia’s 2020/21 budget and the Treasury’s key economic forecasts released on Tuesday. For a story on the budget, click FORECASTS SURPLUS/DEFICIT New (Pct of GDP) (In A$ bln) f’cast 2020/21 -213.7 (-11.0) 2021/22 -112.0 (-5.6) 2022/23 -87.9 (-4.2) 2023/24 -66.9 (-3.0) GDP GROWTH 2020/21 2021/22 2022/23 2023/24 (In pct) -1.5 +4.75 +2.75 +3.0 UNEMPLOYMENT 2020/21 2021/22 2022/23 2023/24 (In pct) 7.25 6.5 6.0 5.5 CPI INFLATION 2020/21 2021/22 2022/23 2023/24 (In pct) 1.75 1.5 1.75 2.0 REVENUE AND EXPENDITURE Total 2020/21 revenues are estimated to fall to A$472.4 billion, or 24.3% of GDP. Expenses are seen rising to A$670.3 billion o4 34.4% of GDP. About A$228 billion of taxpayers’ money is expected to be spent on social security and welfare in 2020/21. DEBT Net debt is expected to rise to A$966.2 billion, or 43.8% of GDP, by 2023/24 from estimates of A$703.2 billion, or 36.1%, in 2020/21. Gross debt is projected to surpass A$1 trillion by 2021/22 from A$684 billion in 2019/20. Gross debt is projected to continue to rise to around A$1.14 trillion by 2023/24. INITIATIVES *JOB MAKER HIRING CREDIT* - To spend A$4 billion for up to 12 months for each new job to employers who hire eligible employees aged 16-35 - ‘Hiring Credit’ to be paid quarterly in arrears at the rate of A$200 per week for those aged between 16-29 and $100 per week for those aged between 30-35 - Eligible employees are required to work a minimum 20 hours per week *SKILLS & TRAINING* - Establishment of A$1 billion “JobTrainer Fund” to create up to 340,000 free or low cost training places for school leavers and job seekers - Committing additional A$1.2 billion to create 100,000 new apprenticeships and traineeships with a 50% wage subsidy for businesses who employ them *TAX RELIEF* - Budget provides additional A$17.8 billion in personal tax relief for more than 11 million Australians - Individuals will benefit from bringing forward the already-legislated tax cuts - In 2020/21, low and middle-income earners will receive tax relief of up to A$2,745 for singles and up to 5,490 for dual income families, compared with 2017/18 settings - Majority of 2020/21 tax benefit to go to those on incomes below A$90,000 *MODERN MANUFACTURING STRATEGY* - Investment of A$1.5 billion to ensure Australia has an “internationally competitive and resilient” manufacturing sector - To provide additional A$ billion through Research & Development Tax - A$1 billion for new research funding for universities - A$1.9 billion in new funding to support low emissions and renewable technologies *INFRASTRUCTURE* - The government is providing an additional A$3 billion towards shovel-ready infrastructure projects, building on the A$2 billion announced since May 2020. *ENERGY SECURITY* - The government will work with states through a programme worth up to A$250 million to accelerate three important electricity transmission projects - the Marinus Link, Project Energy Connect and VNI West. - To provide A$52.9 million to support gas-fired recovery - To provide A$250.7 million in fuel security plan, including boosting onshore diesel storage by 40%. *SUPPORTING REGIONS* - Announces regional package of more than A$550 million to help regions recover from the impacts of COVID-19 - To invest A$250 million for Regional Tourism Recovery Package *ENVIRONMENT* - The government will invest A$249.6 million over four years to modernise recycling infrastructure, reduce waste and recycle more within Australia - To invest A$47.4 million to protect oceans and restore their health *HEALTHCARE* - The government is investing A$4.9 billion for a range of health measures, including personal protective equipment (PPE) and vaccines and treatments related to COVID-19. - To provide A$1.7 billion to secure access to over 84.8 million doses of potential vaccines developed by the University of Oxford and the University of Queensland - A A$123 million investment to join the international COVAX facility to provide Australians access to a large portfolio of vaccine candidates around the world - The government is providing A$746.3 billion to support senior Australians in aged care, workers and providers to respond to the pandemic *OTHER INITIATIVES* - To provide an additional A$201.5 million for cyber security - To invest A$23.2 million over three years from 2020/21 for COVID-19 vaccines in Pacific and Southeast Asian countries - To provide A$304.7 million over two years from 2020/21 for additional support for Pacific Island countries and Timor-Leste to recover from the impacts of COVID-19
Reporting by Swati Pandey Keywords: AUSTRALIA BUDGET/
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