The Morrison government has flagged it is prepared to sacrifice the much-hyped surplus as it responds to the deadly fires ravaging swathes of eastern Australia.
There’s a $2 billion federal relief kitty on the table, with $500 million expected to be spent this financial year.
Asked whether the government would deliver a surplus, Frydenberg said: “I’m not in a position to give a firm answer to that question because the full economic impact is still uncertain.”
The government’s latest package is targeted at small businesses through grants and low-cost loans to stimulate cashflow after the disaster.
“When you are responsible economic managers, you have the financial flexibility to respond to crises and economic shocks whenever they may occur,” Frydenberg said
“This is a time when the Australian people know that their government is there to spend on the things that they need most.”
The Business Council of Australia backed the government forgoing the surplus, with president Tim Reed pointing to “extraordinary circumstances”.
“While we would love to see the budget in surplus, we would not like to see it in surplus at the expense of these local communities,” he said.
Under the relief package, businesses with major damage or a significant dip in revenue because of the fires can access up to $50,000 in tax-free, grant funding.
Low-interest 10-year loans of up to $500,000 will be offered for businesses to restore or replace damaged assets.
The total cost of the measures is unclear with the full extent of the devastating fires’ damage still unclear.
Want to comment?
Send us an email, making it clear which story you’re commenting on and including your full name (required for publication) and phone number (only for verification purposes). Please put “Reader views” in the subject.
We’ll publish the best comments in a regular “Reader Views” post. Your comments can be brief, or we can accept up to 350 words, or thereabouts.
InDaily has changed the way we receive comments. Go here for an explanation.
Local News Matters
Media diversity is under threat in Australia – nowhere more so than in South Australia. The state needs more than one voice to guide it forward and you can help with a donation of any size to InDaily. Your contribution goes directly to helping our journalists uncover the facts. Please click below to help InDaily continue to uncover the facts.