By political reporter Henry Belot.
The countdown is on to the budget’s release but the Federal Government has already revealed how key sectors such as education, infrastructure and housing are likely to fare.
University funding: Student fees will increase by 7.5 per cent by 2021.
That’s a price increase of up to $3,600 for a four-year course.
Graduates will repay their loans earlier and universities will face a funding cut.
School funding: Schools will get an extra $18.6 billion over ten years amid another review of the sector by businessman David Gonski. The contentious announcement will need to go through Parliament.
Expect to see much of the Government’s $50 billion infrastructure program from last year’s budget brought forward. This will fast track roads, rail and other major infrastructure projects.
Badgery’s Creek: The Coalition will bankroll the construction of the Western Sydney airport after Sydney Airport declined to take on the project.
The total costs and the terms will be detailed in the budget.
Inland freight rail: The Government has allocated more than $1 billion for the project that would link south-east Queensland with Adelaide and Perth. The total investment will be detailed in the budget.
Coalition and Labor have already allocated almost $1.8 billion to inland rail, but today’s budget boost would help cover most of the estimated cost of $10.7 billion.
The Government has repeatedly promised measures to address housing affordability.
At this stage, it is unclear what the full package will involve but we understand it could include measures to help young people save a deposit for their first home.
We already know the Government is proposing a bond aggregator model, which will allow community housing to be loaned money at a lower rate.
It’s also likely foreign buyers will pay thousands of dollars in fees should they leave their investment properties empty.
The Treasurer has also flagged measures to help prospective first-home owners.
Expect the Turnbull government to ease the Medicare rebate freeze in a move that could cost more than $43 billion but end the political fight with GPs.
Some cabinet ministers believe that will ensure the so-called “Mediscare” campaign cannot be repeated.