Renewed energy towards household costs in 2017 Budget

THE rising cost of living, including a one-off cash payment to help pay energy bills, is at the core of government promises ahead of tomorrow night's Federal Budget announcement.

The government says it has come out fighting for everyday Australians, The Daily Telegraph reports, by growing the economy to secure more and better jobs, guaranteeing the essential services Australians rely on, putting downward pressure on the cost of living and ensuring the government lives within its means.

Some of the specific details expected to appear in the Budget include $260 million in one-off cash payments to help with winter energy bills, an option for first-home buyers to use pre-tax income to help pay for a home deposit, a push to ensure GPs prescribe generic medicines to save patients $1.8 billion and an extra $428 million for childcare.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said he understood Australians were counting on "fairness" in the Budget.

"One of the things that have been clear is when wage growth is so modest then people's sensitivity to things like the cost of going to a doctor, the cost of medicines, the cost of electricity bills, the cost of rent, how much of it is left over, if anything at all - people are a lot more conscious of that," Mr Morrison said.

"They need to know that their sacrifices and the hard work they've been putting in has been worth it and I think the Budget will encourage them and endorse their hard effort."

Pensioners will get a one-off payment ($75 for single pensioners and $125 for couples) to help with their electricity bills this winter.

Mr Morrison confirmed a bonus $75 for single pensioners and $125 for couples will be paid by the end of June as part of a political deal with Senator Nick Xenophon.

"It's there to support, going into this winter, electricity prices," he said.    "It will be for aged pensioners, disability support pensioners, single parent payments as well as veterans and their partners."



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