Malcolm Turnbull

Budget gets mixed reaction

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Business has not surprisingly welcomed the federal budget, but as usual there is a long list of others who are not happy. Here's what they said about the budget.

Business

"With an election looming, this budget demonstrates that good policy can also be good politics. The glide path to a company tax rate of 25 per cent by 2026/27 will make Australia a more appealing destination for international investors and will encourage Australians to develop their enterprises at home."

- Australian Chamber of Commerce CEO James Pearson.

"The budget had two big tasks this year - stay on course to a credible structural surplus, while equipping the economy with the means for faster growth to support long-term jobs and prosperity. On these two measures, tonight's budget is heading in the right direction."

- Business Council of Australia CEO Jennifer Westacott.

"The cuts in corporate tax over the next decade are very welcome and will make Australia competitive internationally."

- Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox.

Watch NAB chief economist Alan Oster speak with SBS reporter Ricardo Goncalves:

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Small business

"This budget shows there's never been a better time to be in small to medium business."

- Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell.

"Last year I thought it was the best budget small business has ever seen and we would not get better. I was wrong. This year they've improved upon it."

- Council of Small Business CEO Peter Strong.

"The engine room of the Australian economy has been given not just one shovel full of coal but an entire tonne of it in this budget."

- Tasmanian Small Business Council CEO Robert Mallett.

Health

"It means $925 million out of the pockets of everyday Australians. It means people are going to have to pay more out of their pockets when they receive medical treatment."

- Australian Medical Association president Brian Owler on the decision to extend freeze on Medicare rebates until 2020.

"The additional health funding announced tonight without proper underpinning policy, while better than nothing, is like putting a band-aid on a severed limb. Nurses and midwives are disappointed that once again the government doesn't respect their work enough to give them the resources to be able to do it."

- Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation's Annie Butler.

Welfare

"Tonight's budget, like its predecessor, entrenches inequality rather than fighting it."

- St Vincent de Paul Society CEO John Falzon.

"The tightening of super tax concessions and changes to youth employment programs are welcome, but harsh cuts affecting people on low incomes remain locked in, with more announced and more likely to come. The failure to strengthen revenue is a major problem, and this budget reveals the ongoing consequences to essential services and the social safety net."

- ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie.

"We remain concerned the budget shows the government will persist with plans to force people under 25 to wait four weeks for unemployment income support. Youth unemployment remains destructively high ... this new measure is a good start there but there's much more that needs to be done."

- Australian Youth Affairs Coalition chair Katie Acheson on a new jobs plan for unemployed young people.

"For the third successive year this government has failed to address the situation of low-income Australians ... (there's) no support to secure housing and rental affordability."

- Catholic Social Services Australia CEO Marcelle Mogg.

Unions

"It's a deeply disappointing budget with more cuts to come."

- Public service union national secretary Nadine Flood.

"The Turnbull government today delivered a golden handshake to $100 million corporations and the top one per cent of income earners, while working Australians are left even worse off."

- ACTU president Ged Kearney.

"This budget is not about a future for an advanced manufacturing economy in Australia."

- Australian Manufacturing Workers Union national president Andrew Dettmer.

Tax groups

"Despite grand rhetoric, the budget is a timid, low-risk budget that fails to address the fundamental challenges facing the Australian economy, and represents a missed opportunity."

- Australian Taxpayers Alliance executive director Tim Andrews.

"The government has kept to their word when it comes to supporting the most critical sector of our economy."

- Institute of Public Accountants on small business tax cuts.

"A diverted profits tax will raise concerns that Australia may become an uncertain place to do business. The get tough on multinationals message will be popular in the electorate, but if not managed carefully the policies could create risks for an open economy like Australia."

- Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand's Michael Croker.

"This is a budget for now and for the future. The Tax Institute's wish list in the main has been granted."

- Tax Institute president Arthur Athanasiou.

"Certainly the extension of the small business cap to businesses with a turnover of up to $10 million to enable them to get the instant asset write-off and other concessions will be very welcome. But the 10-year timeline for a corporate tax rate of 25 per cent is too long."

- Certified Practising Accountants Australia head of policy Paul Drum.

Education

"This budget fails the fairness test. It confirms Malcolm Turnbull will walk away from needs-based Gonski funding and turn their backs on disadvantaged students."

- Australian Education Union president Correna Haythorpe.

"Cuts worth a combined $180 million to university programs that support disadvantaged students and teaching excellence are fresh blows."

- Universities Australia CEO Belinda Robinson.

"It's surprising the government remains committed to $2.5 billion cuts to the university sector just at the time they have expressed their commitment to innovation in the Australian economy. We're glad this is going to be an election issue."

- Group of Eight Universities chair Michael Spence.

Environment

"Climate funding cuts and uncertainties dominate. We need to stop kicking the climate and clean energy can down the road and face up to the fact the electricity sector in particular needs to be modernised and decarbonised."

- The Climate Institute CEO John Connor.

"Prime Minister Turnbull has missed the opportunity to show leadership on nature and climate action in his first budget."

- Australian Conservation Foundation CEO Kelly O'Shanassy

Aid groups

"This latest round of aid cuts puts lives and futures at risk as well as regional and global security and prosperity; it's both unwise and unworthy of our nation."

- World Vision CEO Tim Costello.

"Given Australia is one of the world's wealthiest nations, it is deeply disappointing that tonight's budget sees Australia's overseas aid cut to the lowest in our history."

- Australian Christian Lobby managing director Lyle Shelton.

Retailers

"Introducing new measures to support business and delivering stimulus to the hip pocket on top of the RBA interest rate cut will be just what the doctor ordered for retail."

- Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman.

"There is little in the budget to spook consumers, and business can also be buoyed by a commitment to set a clear path to long-term growth.

- Retail Council chairman Peter Birtles.

Housing sector

"The budget tonight delivers for a sector which will be very important for the economic growth of the country over the next couple of years."

- Property Council of Australia CEO Ken Morrison on retention of negative gearing.

"The budget measures reflect a measured path to budget recovery that should add to the confidence the home building industry and it customers need to make home building and renovating decisions."

- Housing Industry Association CEO Graham Wolfe.

Seniors

"The superannuation reforms are measured, modest and appropriate for this time given the fiscal outlook for the country."

- National Seniors Australia CEO Michael O'Neill.

"It makes the super system fit for purpose ... it makes it much more flexible."

Councils on the Ageing spokesman Ian Yates.

Tourism

"This budget locks in a tax which will deliver a negative result for Australia's tourism industry and which will drive our backpacker visitors into the arms of our New Zealand competitors."

- Australian Tourism Export Council managing director Peter Shelley on the so-called backpacker tax.

Tobacco

"We are justifiably furious."

Imperial Tobacco Australia head of corporate and legal affairs Andrew Gregson on the tobacco excise increase.

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