The government will slash prices of staples including bread, cereals and pasta by up to 5 per cent to meet a key demand for more cash, Treasurer Scott Morrison has announced.
In his first budget, Treasurer Morrison also revealed the government would introduce a new tax bracket for people who earn less than $150,000 a year, which would make it easier to afford to buy the things that go with it.
Mr Morrison said the $3.5 billion budget surplus was being maintained through savings from changes to GST and savings from higher fuel taxes.
The government says the plan will reduce the deficit by $1.7 billion over the next five years, and it is expected to have $1 billion in savings from new petrol excise rates and from higher rates on cigarettes.
Mr Morrison also announced the creation of a new Australian Crime Commission, to assist police and the government in tackling crime, organised crime and organised crime-related matters.
His announcement also included $100 million for the National Crime Prevention Strategy, which he said would be delivered with the full support of the states and territories.
“We know that Australians will not tolerate an increase in crime, and we know that a crime rate that is so high that it can affect a person’s life is something that needs to be dealt with,” Mr Morrison said.
“Our goal is to keep Australians safe.
We need to do that with the kind of focus and intensity we’ve demonstrated in the past and the support that we’ve provided.”
Mr Morrison’s budget includes $1bn to help build and maintain new police stations and $100m to create an Indigenous Crime Commission.
It also includes $3 billion in tax cuts for Australians earning over $150 000 a year.
He also announced $2.4 billion for the Northern Territory, and $3bn for Western Australia, which will also receive more than $1billion in new GST revenue.
New rules would allow supermarkets to use a range of colours in their products and make it compulsory for some goods to be made with non-renewable fuels.
Mr Abbott said his government had no intention of privatising any state or territory public sector assets.
“The government is prepared to invest more in our communities and to invest in the future,” he said.
“We’re looking forward to the opportunity to be able to take on some of the responsibilities of managing our national assets and make them more sustainable.”
“We’re putting the needs of our communities first and the needs and wellbeing of our nation first.”
He also made an attempt to reassure the public about the safety of the government.
“This is a budget that we will be standing up to the terrorists, to the gangsters and to the criminals,” he told reporters.
“There will be no further violence.
This is not a fight that you will be able, or we will not be able in this country to win.”
Mr Abbott’s announcement follows a string of high-profile killings in the country.
A man who tried to attack a bank with a knife and another man who was fatally shot in Melbourne in October were shot dead by police.
Also in October, a gunman killed his mother, father and brother at a house in the suburbs of Townsville, and a man armed with a gun killed a police officer in a separate incident in Sydney.
But Mr Morrison has been under increasing pressure from conservative groups to do more to combat the rise in crime.
There has been criticism that his government is not doing enough to combat organised crime.
Last month, a prominent conservative radio host accused the Abbott government of a “war on the poor” and suggested he would be open to selling off state assets to fund more police and anti-crime programs.