Budget 2018: Scott Morrison has spoken with SBS News about his budget plan to extend the waiting time for refugees needing to access the government's job search service.
More on Budget 2018:
- Migrants to wait four years for Centrelink in welfare crackdown
- Government to claw back $300m from welfare debtors
- Turnbull government's Indigenous strategy blasted
- Churches win exemption from paying for Aussie apprenticeships
Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison has defended his budget plan to extend the waiting time for refugees needing to access the government's job search service.
The change, announced in Tuesday night's federal budget, means refugees will have to wait half a year before being allowed access to Centrelink's full job search program, saving the government $68 million over the next four years.
"We provide the best settlement services for refugees that come to Australia, of any country in the world, that's something recognised by international agencies. So when it comes to supporting people who come to Australia, Australians can hold their heads up high, as can the government," Mr Morrison told SBS News after the budget announcement.
"At the same time, we have our priorities. We invite people to come to this country to make a contribution, not take one, and we don't apologise for ensuring that we have systems that don't encourage more people to jump on boats."
The budget papers explained the measure is aimed at improving "the sequencing of services available to refugees ... assisting refugees to focus on settlement and improving language skills."
The Treasurer also told SBS News his government has put Australia in a strong position to make the most of global growth, allowing the economy "to keep growing and transitioning".
"No country has done as well as us when it comes to striking deals all around the world ... we've invested in research, in technology and we're seeing our economy transition," Mr Morrison said.
"We'll keep investing in essential services, but the only way you can do that is with a strong economy."
One such essential service - healthcare in regional and rural Australia - has been bolstered by the government's plans to create jobs for more than 3000 doctors and 3000 nurses in these communities.
"We're delivering through our workforce strategy more doctors into regional and rural areas, and we're putting five new medical schools throughout the Murray Darling Area, as well as one in Western Australia - that is all about training new Australian doctors," Mr Morrison said.
The need to train new Australian medical professionals will become even more pronounced after the government announced a cut to the number of visas granted to foreign doctors by 200 places.
The $40 million savings from what is said is a plan to reduce the oversupply of doctors in urban areas amounts to the biggest single saving in the 2018 Budget.
The Treasurer reaffirmed the government's commitment to returning to surplus and claimed net debt will fall to 3.8 per cent of GDP over the next decade.
"Debt and deficit have never stopped being important and the deficit has halved in the past two years," Mr Morrison said.
"The stronger economy we're building for the next ten years will help them, and a weaker economy will harm them."