2024 federal budget: Anthony Albanese reveals Australia cost of living relief

Anthony Albanese has dropped a huge hint on new cost of living relief before the May budget pledging that if he can find a way to “put dollars” into low and middle income earners’ pockets he will.

The Prime Minister has outlined his priorities for relief as he confirmed the budget surplus – based in part on higher income tax revenue – has provided room for relief.

While the big hint could suggest the government is considering boosting tax relief for low and middle income earners – news.com.au understands the government has not asked the Treasury yet to develop specific measures for this option.

While the Prime Minister did not define low and middle earners, the definition used by the Australian Taxation Office includes workers earning under $126,000.

“If we can find ways to put extra dollars in people’s pockets, particularly those lower middle income earners, who are doing it tough, then we are prepared to do so’’ the Prime Minister told Sky News.

The Prime Minister confirmed that advice from the Treasury on cost of living relief options was incoming. It will be discussed by a special ALP caucus meeting on the cost of living on Wednesday.

“One of the things that we did last year was to be determined to produce a budget surplus, the first 15 years, and what that does is it provides you with the scope to then provide additional assistance,’’ the Prime Minister said.

Mr Albanese said any measures also needed to put downward pressure on inflation.

“I note that the Reserve Bank when they’ve made these decisions that they have given weight to the fact that the Australian Bureau of Statistics … they noted that our energy price relief plan … has made a positive difference,’’ he said.

“We will take whatever advice is given to us but we’ll always look for ways in which we can provide assistance to people, particularly people who are on low and middle incomes, the ones who are doing it, doing it particularly tough.

Last week, Mr Albanese pledged that promised tax cuts “will happen” from July after weeks of speculation ensuring that those earning over $200,000 score a whopping $9000 a year tax cut.

But there’s a big gap between what some workers get and others with those earning $45,000 scoring just 43 cents-a-week in tax relief.

For high income earners on $200,000 a year, his tax cuts are worth $9000 annually or $756-a-month from July 1, 2024.

A worker on $200,000 a year currently pays $60,667 in tax but will only pay $51,592 after the changes.

By comparison, if you currently earn $50,000 you are paying $6717 in tax and $6592 after the changes, delivering a tax cut of just $125 a year.

That’s a tax cut of 34 cents a day or $2.40 a week.

“We have no change to our plans. We, of course, have said that tax relief is really important,’’ Mr Albanese said.

“I mean, that’s one way that you put more money into people’s pockets. And tax cuts are important.”

“So they’re going to happen?,’’ he was asked on Triple M Radio Adelaide.

“Well, tax cuts will happen in July,’’ he said.

“We’re committed to that. Well, we haven’t changed our position on that.”

Speaking on FIVEaa radio, he stressed the tax cuts will kick in for anyone earning over $45,000.

It has been publicly disclosed that these tax cuts are estimated to cost around $69 billion over the forward estimates period (to 2026-27).

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