‘Disastrous’: Peter Dutton slams ‘Band-Aid’ budget

Peter Dutton has unleashed on the federal budget, labelling it a “Band-Aid on a bullet wound” and accusing the government of trying to “buy itself an interest rate reduction”.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers on Tuesday night handed down the budget, which gave all Australian households a $300 power bill rebate, regardless of their income.

Speaking to the ABC on Wednesday morning, the opposition leader said the coalition would support the bill rebate; but expressed his confusion over why it is not means tested.

“I don’t understand why you and I on high incomes need to get that assistance. Frankly, I think the money would be better provided by way of support to those more in need,” Mr Dutton said.

“For the average household in Australia, they’re $35,000 worse off under this government and people are paying thousands more each month for their mortgage in many cases.

“I think this is a Band-Aid on a bullet wound and the government’s made a really bad situation for Australian families over two budgets and last night, they made it worse.”

When asked if the budget would, as the government hope, move Australia towards a lower-inflation environment and encourage the RBA board to start cutting interest rates, Mr Dutton said he doesn’t think that’s the case.

“You’ve got every credible economic commentators overnight saying this is a disastrous budget,” he said.

“And on the other hand, you have Anthony Albanese and Jim Chalmers saying everything is OK, there’s nothing to see there and inflation is going to come down, which is contrary to Reserve Bank predictions.”

He added what he described as an “inflationary” budget will make it harder for struggling families and businesses.

“A lot of businesses at the moment are doing it tough and they’re passing costs on to consumers, which is why we’re seeing a problem with inflation,” he added.

“Yes, the government wants to buy itself an interest rate reduction coming up to the election but really, as most credible economic journalists have pointed out, this is an inflationary budget and it will make it harder for interest rates to come back and it will make it more difficult for families and small businesses for longer.”

Mr Dutton went on to slam the government’s handling of the housing crisis, saying the Coalition do not support the government’s $32 billion investment in production tax credits for green hydrogen and critical minerals and arguing the money should instead be used to help Aussies who are struggling to find a home.

“We’ve got people living in cars and in tents. The Prime Minister had nothing to say about that yesterday. The Treasurer had nothing to say about it last night.”

Addressing the country’s soaring migration levels, he added: “You’ve got 1.67 million people coming in over a five-year period under this government. It’s unprecedented.

“People can’t buy a house at an auction for love nor money and this government spent $315 billion more, which has driven up inflation and therefore interest rates.”

“You’ve had almost a million people over two years and that’s created a housing emergency in our country and the Prime Minister at the moment is giving billions and billions of dollars to billionaires and we have families living in tents and cars.”

Anthony Albanese was earlier grilled on the government’s $300 energy bill rebate on the Today show on Wednesday morning.

“How do you explain how Jenny from the block in Yorkeys Knob gets the same power rebate as Gina from Noosa?” Today host Karl Stefanovic asked the prime minister, referring to Australia’s richest person Gina Rinehart.

“Well, I’m not aware of who Jenny and Gina are, but I’m sure they’re fine Australians. And you know what? They deserve support,” Mr Albanese replied.

“So let me spell it out for you, Gina, as Gina Rinehart, does she need help with the power bill.”

“PM is the reality is that there are a bunch of Australians who just don’t need the 300 bucks.”

“This is the most effective way to deliver support across the board,“ said Mr Albanese.

“Gina, if she pays income tax, will also get a tax cut, as will every Australian, every single one of your viewers will get a tax cut on July 1st. And that is, because, right, throughout the income scales, there are pressures on.”

Mr Stefanovic then asked if someone who has multiple homes will get multiple discounts if they’re with multiple power companies.

“Well, this is household bill relief of $300 for every household, every household gets it,” Mr Albanese said.

“So if you’ve got a if you’ve got a holiday house or you’ve got a rental, you get it at each household?” he asked.

Mr Albanese did not give a clear answer, responding saying: “Well, what that will do is put downward pressure on inflation. It’s expected that our cost of living measures will reduce inflation by one half a per cent in the coming year, three quarters of a per cent in this current year.”

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