Treasurer Tim Pallas has warned Victorians that the May budget will be “very, very tight” and will slash government services, but hinted it could also provide more cost-of-living support for struggling families.
There would be no wholesale increase in taxes, Pallas said on Tuesday, but he suggested there could be targeted tax changes around the margins.
“I’m expecting it to be a very, very tight budget,” Pallas said.
“This will not be a budget where there will be essentially wholesale increases in taxes. It won’t. We put in place our COVID repair plan in the last budget. That’s not to say that we won’t do anything, but it’ll be pretty marginal. What we will be looking at is how we can make our tax base more efficient, I’m constantly looking at that.”
He said he would not be drawn on the specifics, but that the Allan government was conscious of cost-of-living pressures, particularly on low- and middle-income households.
Pallas said the budget would not be sustainable if the state continued to fund COVID-19 measures at the same rate, and said the government had identified $31 billion of financial support it had provided during the pandemic.
He said funding health had been “profoundly expensive” during the pandemic and pointed to education as another area that had received extra support, including “substantial” spending on a statewide tutoring program. He also sought to blame interest rate rises and the cost of construction.
“Believe me, I am looking very closely at all the expenditures that government is making, and we will make choices, and we will wind back the provision of support,” he said.