Finance Minister Katy Gallagher said Labor inherited a serious set of economic and fiscal challenges but will make tough decisions while also focusing on cost of living issues.
Senator Gallagher and Treasurer Jim Chalmers were sworn in last Monday, while taking on a series of interim ministries, so the government can get to work on its top priorities.
This includes putting the budget in order and preparing for the first Labor budget in October.
Dr Chalmers will also provide an economic update when Parliament resumes in June or July.
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“Obviously, we inherit a very serious set of economic and fiscal challenges, and we don’t want to pretend it’s anything other than that,” Sen. Gallagher told ABC’s Insiders Sunday.
She says there are budget pressures in areas such as health care, elderly care, NDIS, defense and national security, all of which are growing faster than the economy.
But Senator Gallagher said Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had also pledged to apply a ‘cost of living lens’ to the budget to see what was possible.
But she again said the halving of excise duty on fuel introduced by the previous government was unlikely to be extended beyond September, saying it was around 3 billion dollars for a period of six months.
Mr Albanese told Sky New’s Sunday Agenda that his economy ministers had already started an audit of the budget, going through it line by line to look for rubbish and errors.
“Where there is waste that we can act on, we certainly will,” Mr Albanese said.
“This (previous) government abused the contingency reserve system to create these pots of money that were only there to be used for political purposes and we need to do better than that.”
Independent MP Zali Steggall agreed there needed to be fiscal discipline.
“We just can’t keep pushing our way into the public purse,” she told Sky News.
Mr Albanese again ruled out abandoning the so-called ‘stage three’ tax cuts set by law to start in 2024/25.
He said Labor was committed to delivering what was legislated and people had the right to operate on the basis of certainty.
Senator Gallagher also backed her leader by not copying a UK government windfall tax on the profits of oil and gas companies benefiting from soaring global prices, and using those revenues to fund cost relief. of life.
“We’re going a different route,” she said.