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Australia Push to attract overseas talent to Australia during coronavirus as part of jobs-driven federal budget

00:41  11 may  2021
00:41  11 may  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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Australia will seek to "capitalise" on its management of COVID-19 with a half a billion-dollar plan to lure global businesses and talent from other countries.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg unveiled the package, worth $550 million over four years, ahead of today's federal budget.

The new measures include removing red tape and changing tax rules to encourage the use of employee share schemes, which the government argues are critical for start-ups to attract and retain talented staff.

The Australian Tax Office will also provide a "concierge" service to fast-track tax advice to foreign investors, while individual tax residency rules will be simplified.

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"We must seize this opportunity and capitalise on the strength of our health and economic response to this crisis," Mr Frydenberg said.

"While other countries struggle to contain the virus and are moving to increase taxes, our focus is on driving an even stronger recovery and attracting the best and brightest to help set Australia up for the future."

The announcement comes just days after the government revealed Australia's international border restrictions were likely to remain in place until 2022.

Big spending budget aimed at COVID recovery

While Australia is bouncing back from COVID-19 more quickly than expected, Mr Frydenberg insists a lot more work still needs to be done to secure the economic recovery.

He has walked away from the Coalition's traditional focus on debt and deficit and flagged billions of dollars of spending aimed at driving the unemployment rate down to pre-pandemic levels.

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The JobTrainer program is expected to be extended by another 12 months, offering thousands of people free or low-fee courses so they can work in areas like aged care, IT and childcare.

However, the youth wage subsidy known as the JobMaker hiring credit, a centrepiece of last year's budget, is facing the axe after delivering only a fraction of the jobs the government had promised.

More than $10 billion over 10 years has also been announced for infrastructure projects, with the hope of creating local jobs on road, rail and freight projects in every state and territory.

A tax rebate known as the low and middle-income tax offset is expected to be extended for another 12 months, while single parents will be given more government assistance to buy a house.

Budget to reveal aged care response

The Treasurer wants to avoid locking in too many long-term spending measures, however, there are several areas where funding is expected to be ramped up significantly.

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Aged care is one of them, with the government promising a "once in a generation investment" in response to the damning Royal Commission into the sector.

More than $10 billion is expected to be spent over the next four years, although many advocates say that will fall short of what is needed.

Childcare is also in focus, with the government having already announced a $1.7 billion childcare package to remove subsidy caps for higher-income earners and reduce costs for families with two or more children in care.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme is expected to overtake the cost of Medicare within three years, according to budget estimates that could fuel debate about its sustainability, however, Mr Frydenberg said the government was "absolutely committed" to the program.

Labor described the budget as a test for the government, arguing the Coalition did not have a comprehensive plan for Australia's economic recovery.

"This is like a show bag budget," Opposition leader Anthony Albanese said on Monday.

"A budget that looks pretty flashy, but when you take it home, only lasts a few days or a few weeks.

"The fact is there's no lasting legacy from this government except for a trillion dollars of debt."

Victoria's post-pandemic recovery 'on track' but budget deficit forecast to be $11.6 billion .
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