Business, farmers back federal budget while doctors, Greens and Labor go on the attack

Business, farmers back federal budget while doctors, Greens and Labor go on the attack

SBS World News Radio: Treasurer Scott Morrison's first budget has been handed down and critics have been quick to appear. But Mr Morrison's so-called "plan for prosperity" has also been welcomed in some quarters, too.

Happy with the budget, broadly speaking, are business groups, farmers and the Australian Tax Office, which gets a bright new taskforce to tackle tax dodgers.

Unhappy, as might be expected, are the Opposition and Greens, doctors and smokers, whose vice will cost them increasingly more as the years pass.

Among the Treasurer's incentives for economic and jobs growth is a cut in the small business tax rate to 27.5 per cent.

At the same time, the turnover threshold for small businesses able to access that rate will increase in planned increments over coming years.

Labor's treasury spokesman Chris Bowen has told the ABC the ALP supports the rate cut - but finds the rest risible.

"For the proposed change to the threshold of small business, the definition of small business, we do not support. Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison want to take the definition of a small business to being a business with a turnover of less than a billion dollars. I mean, it's laughable, it's ridiculous, it's an excuse to deliver a large business tax cut under the guise of making small business bigger and bigger, changing the definition."

Greens leader Richard Di Natale says the Budget doesn't do anything to seize what may be the world's most important economic opportunity.

"The Budget talks about an economic plan for jobs and growth and yet it's silent on the most economic issue - making that transition to clean energy - which is a jobs-producing, investment-attracting transition and yet the budget's completely silent on it."

While the peak doctors' body has also lined up against the Budget.

The Australian Medical Association's Dr Brian Owler says the government is simply continuing its attack on Medicare.

"Tonight, we've seen an extension of the Medicare rebate freeze. That means that the Government has extended its stranglehold on patients' rebates. That means $925 million more out of the pockets of everyday Australians."

Business groups have widely welcomed the Budget, with various lobbyists queuing up to speak once the Treasurer had finished speaking.

"We believe that, overall, this is a Budget that's good for business. It's good for Australian business, and there's a lot here to like, and there's a lot here to welcome. The cuts in corporate tax over the next decade are very welcome."

While the National Farmers Federation's Tony Mahar is particularly keen on the infrastructure elements of the government's plan.

"We've seen some good measures from the Australian Government, including a commitment to inland rail, which will make a significant difference to the competitiveness of Australian farmers. It's a welcome addition."


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