The last few years have challenged our nation.
Our Greek Australian community can be rightly proud of how they have met this test.
From home schooling to disruptions to your traditional gatherings to family separations, you’ve toughed it out.
I am grateful for your leadership, resilience and keeping each other safe.
Every community will know from your former homelands that Australia’s performance during this pandemic is a standout.
We’ve saved over 40,000 lives.
We have world-leading vaccination rates and one of the lowest COVID fatality rates.
Our economic recovery is stronger than the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.
But there is more to do.
The 2022-23 Budget outlines the next stage of our recovery.
It delivers cost of living relief now – and a long-term economic plan that creates more jobs. With record investments in essential services, and stronger defence and national security in these uncertain times.
Australia is the most successful multicultural nation in the world.
That’s why it’s so important to defend and protect the liberty and freedom of so many who have come here to shelter and contribute by building their businesses and raising their families.
Events abroad are pushing up the cost of living. Our temporary, targeted and responsible cost of living package will help. For the next six months, fuel excise will be cut in half, saving Australians 22 cents a litre.
A one-off $420 Cost of Living Tax Offset will help over 10 million low-and-middle income earners.
And pensioners and other concession card holders will get a one-off $250 Cost of Living Payment.
At the same time, we have delivered the largest improvement to the Budget bottom line in more than 70 years.
Over five years, the Budget will be over $103 billion better off (compared to last year’s mid-year projections).
This Budget will strengthen our economy.
A strong economy is what supports our pension scheme, Medicare and our migrant support and settlement services for those who we’ve welcomed from the most trying circumstances.
To assist Ukrainian citizens forced to flee, we have issued over 5,700 visas – with more underway.
More than 1,400 Ukrainians have already arrived in Australia.
The Budget will also support Australians by delivering record funding for schools, hospitals, Medicare, mental health, aged care, women’s safety and disability support.
And it will support small businesses, increase apprenticeships and invest strongly in manufacturing and infrastructure.
Our migrant communities have a tremendous record of entrepreneurialism over many generations.
We’re backing this very strongly in the Budget.
Our government has supported small businesses with the lowest tax rates in 50 years (reduced from 30 per cent to 25 per cent) and investment incentives, like the instant asset write-off.
To further encourage small businesses, the Budget provides a $120 deduction for every $100 spent on training staff, or on digital technologies.
There are now 220,000 trade apprentices – the highest number on record.
To encourage more apprentices, we will provide $5,000 payments to new apprentices and up to $15,000 in wage subsidies for employers.
Despite Australia’s challenges, our economic recovery is leading the world.
We have done it by working together.
The Greek Australian community across the country have done an extraordinary job.
This is not a time to change course.
This is a time to stick to our plan, with cost of living relief, a strong economy and a stronger future.