Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison has delivered his mid-year economic and fiscal outlook, revealing changes to welfare payments and university funding.
UpdatedUpdated 13 mins ago
By James Elton-Pym
Migrants who arrive in Australia from July next year will have to wait three years before they can access certain welfare payments, extending the current two-year waiting period.
The government estimates the measure will save $1.3 billion over the next four years.
The extended waiting time will apply to paid parental leave, the Carers Allowance and the Family Tax Benefit.
Those bringing relatives over to Australia on a family visa will also need to guarantee their financial independence for three years.
There will be some “exemptions” for “vulnerable groups”, according to MYEFO paperwork, as well as for some New Zealand citizens with children in their care.
The migrant welfare reforms and the cuts to university funding are the two biggest saving measures revealed in the MYEFO, which was released by the Turnbull Government on Monday.
"Turning the debt ship around was always going to take time and we are continuing to make considerable progress," Treasurer Scott Morrison said.
The budget update shows Australia is still on track to be out of debt and into a surplus by the financial year 2020-21, when the surplus is forecast to reach just above $7 billion.
Deloitte economist Chris Richardson said the slower debt growth was largely thanks to an improved Chinese eocnomy that was able to buy more Australian export goods.
He said the longer waiting times for migrants were "tough".
But he said the savings mechanism was convenient for the government, as it could be done through changes to regulations without the need to pass a bill through the Senate.
Several hours after the MYEFO was released, Labor indicated its unease at the proposal.
Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said the opposition would "take some time" to unpack the measures.
"However, we are deeply concerned about the impact on those who can least afford it," he said.
"We are honoured to represent a highly multicultural electorate."
Government moves again on uni cuts
The government will also try a new set of measures to save money on university funding after the Senate defeated a package of cuts announced at the Budget back in May.
The combined measures will save the government $2.1 billion over the forward estimates - but some of those dollars are contingent on the government passing new legislation.
If the Turnbull Government can pass the legislation, there will be a new lifetime cap on the total amount of money the government will loan to any one student for their tuition.
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