Joe Hockey is expected to announce the creation of a medical research fund estimated to top $20 billion by 2020.
The federal government is expected to announce the creation of a medical research fund it estimates will grow to $20 billion by 2020 and pay annual dividends of $1.1 billion by 2023.
Treasurer Joe Hockey is also expected to unveil an economic plan that will cut the deficit from $123 billion to $60 billion over four years.
It’s tipped the medical research future fund, modelled on the Future Fund set up in 2006 by the Howard government, will include inbuilt safeguards to ensure it cannot be raided.
The fund, which the government is touting as the largest of its kind worldwide, will bankroll research to develop treatments for diseases such as cancer, diabetes and multiple sclerosis.
Canberra will pay an initial investment of $1.1 billion into the fund in January next year, Sky News has reported.
The research fund will pay an annual dividend from July 2015, and this is forecast to hit $500 million a year by 2019-20.
Investments in the fund, to be capped at $20 billion and managed by the Future Fund board, will come through the winding up of the health and hospitals fund and the axing of Medicare locals.
The government has also reportedly confirmed it will offer a $10,000 incentive for employers who hire workers aged 50 and over who have been on income support.
It has also been confirmed the Abbott government’s first budget will herald a “budget repair levy” and Australians will be hit with a $2.4 billion rise in petrol excise.
The budget is expected to include co-payments for a visit to the doctor, a temporary levy on high income earners, a rise in the pension age to 70 and massive job cuts in the public service.
While Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Mr Hockey will have a tough task selling some of the harsher measures, the medical research future fund and a major infrastructure package are expected to receive a positive response.
However, apprentices will not fare so well, with the government expected to cut payments of more than $5000 to pay for tools.
The Department of Industry published a note on Tuesday afternoon, just hours before the budget was to be handed down, revealing the tax-free apprenticeship payments of $5500 under the Tools for Your Trade initiative would be axed, Fairfax reported.
It’s also expected new Trade Support Loans would be introduced.
The interest-free loans would be available from July 1, capped at a maximum of $20,000, with debts to be repaid under the same HECS threshold rules that govern loans for university students.