Josh Frydenberg says Federal Budget to focus on cost of living measures

Tuesday’s Federal Budget is set to deliver relief for cost-of-living pressures, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told Today.

Speaking with Nine Political Editor Chris Uhlmann, Mr Frydenberg said it would be “a budget for the times”.

“Australian families will see cost of living relief,” he said.

Nine Political Editor Chris Uhlmann interviewed Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Today. (Today)

He refused to reveal specifics of that relief, including around the fuel excise, tax breaks, or cash handouts to lower-income families.

But he said the government recognised that fuel prices – driven high by the war in Ukraine – was at the forefront of many peoples’ concerns.

And he denied that the Budget was focused on “buying” voters ahead of the upcoming Federal election.

“The measures to provide cost-of-living” relief will be targeted, they will be temporary, they will be proportionate,” Mr Frydenberg said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has left Australia in a financial black hole following massive relief funding over two years, with the national deficit spiralling.

Grilled by Uhlmann, Mr Frydenberg acknowledged that the Coalition had jettisoned “ideology” to help Australians – but maintained that they had been “rightly critical” of similar mass spending measures taken by the then-Labor government during the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-2009.

“We’ve responded in a very responsible and targeted way,” he said.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the Australian economy hard. (Janie Barrett/Sydney Morning Herald)

He wouldn’t be drawn on when Australians could expect to next see a surplus in the budget, but said there were promising signs.

“What I do project in Tuesday night’s budget is a material improvement to the bottom line, which we are banking,” he said.

You can watch the full interview in the player above.

Speaking in Western Australia today, Prime Minister Scott Morrison would also not be drawn on specifics of the budget, but said the cost of living measures would be in place across the entire community.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison addressed the media in Western Australia today. (9News)

And he deflected suggestions this budget was the most important one of his political career.

“Every single budget, every decision we take as a government is important,” he said.

“(Budgets) are not about me, they’re not about Josh Frydenberg, they’re not about (Opposition Leader) Anthony Albanese, or anybody else that sits in the Parliamentary chamber.”

He said the government would continue to tackle inflation through “strong financial management”.

In apparent campaign mode despite the federal election not yet being called, Mr Morrison also seemed to coin a new phrase – “Albanomics” – as he made another pitch to the electorate on his government’s economic record.

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