Australia news LIVE:Treasurer Jim Chalmers to unveil budget tonight; Sally Rugg settles unfair dismissal case against teal MP Monique Ryan

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Key posts

  • Budget to reveal biggest economic slowdown since COVID shutdowns
  • Launched in a blaze of publicity, Ryan v Rugg settles in a whimper
  • ‘They’re getting the gas for free’: government dodges tougher tax reform
  • Ukraine, Sudan conflict fuel surge in tuberculosis
  • This morning’s headlines at a glance
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Budget to reveal biggest economic slowdown since COVID shutdowns

In budget news, the Australian economy will suffer its biggest slowdown since the depths of the COVID pandemic as the combination of high interest rates and high inflation sharply reduces the spending power of the nation’s consumers.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers will use his second federal budget to unveil a $4 billion surplus this financial year alongside fresh economic forecasts showing a lift in unemployment over the next two years, a decline in inflation and continuing pressure on the housing construction sector.

A sharp slowdown in household spending will be a key factor in a downgraded outlook for the economy to be unveiled in Tuesday’s budget.Credit: Edwina Pickles

The economy is expected to grow by between 1.25 per cent and 1.5 per cent in the 2023-24 financial year.

It would be the slowest annual growth rate since the country largely reopened after the early pandemic shutdowns of 2020.

Keep reading about the slowdown here. 

Launched in a blaze of publicity, Ryan v Rugg settles in a whimper

Political activist Sally Rugg has quietly settled her unfair dismissal claim against independent federal MP Monique Ryan and the Commonwealth for a modest sum, with no admission of fault by her former boss or the government.

The anticlimactic end to a lawsuit launched three months ago in a blaze of publicity was reached on April 28, with Rugg accepting an offer of about $100,000 to abandon her claim.

In happier times: Kooyong MP Monique Ryan and her then-chief of staff, Sally Rugg, at an AFLW game.

All sides have agreed to pay their own legal costs, sources with knowledge of the settlement negotiations confirmed.

The full story on this issue is available here. 

‘They’re getting the gas for free’: government dodges tougher tax reform

Treasurer Jim Chalmers’ changes to taxes on offshore oil and gas projects will generate $3.5 billion extra revenue by 2050, nearly $13 billion less than another reform option identified in a report by Treasury.

Oil and gas projects captured by the Petroleum Resources Rent Tax (PRRT) pay just a fraction what producers do in other resources-rich countries, and Chalmers revealed on Saturday a change to the PRRT, imposing a cap of 90 per cent on the amount of income that offshore gas projects can offset.

Tuesday’s federal budget will change the tax regime for offshore oil and gas projects.Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA via AP.

The change will bring forward payments that would have been deferred for years.

A Treasury report on the PRRT found reducing tax offsets permitted by the PRRT by 10 per cent would generate an extra $3.5 billion by 2050, and Chalmers said on Sunday it would generate extra $2.4 billion over the next four years.

Keep reading this story here.

Ukraine, Sudan conflict fuel surge in tuberculosis

Before we turn to the budget, some concerning news from overseas as UN officials and health leaders tackle an alarming surge in tuberculosis.

Among the problems: a high number of cases in conflict zones, including Ukraine and Sudan, where it’s difficult to track down people with the disease and diagnose new sufferers.

Tuberculosis is the biggest infectious disease killer in the world today, taking the lives of around 4,400 people every day, including 700 children, Dr. Lucica Ditiu, executive director of the Stop TB Partnership, said.

A coalition of Western militaries, including the RAAF, have been evacuating foreign nationals from Sudan.Credit: AP

Before COVID-19, which like TB is transmitted through the air, “we didn’t see very dramatic cases of TB,” she said, “but after COVID we saw a type of TB that we saw in … movies in which people spit blood, and they are very weak, and so on.”

Ditiu said the economic impact of COVID and conflicts, first in Ukraine but now also in Sudan, are having “a huge impact” on efforts to treat people with TB and diagnose new cases.

Ukraine has the highest number of estimated people with TB in the European region — 34,000 — and also a high number with drug-resistant TB, she said last week.

“It’s remarkable, the fact that the Ukrainian people are actually showing an amazing resilience in doing their best to maintain the services for TB,” Ditiu said.

“But obviously a lot of people left the country.”

Nonetheless, she said, major efforts have been made to track down those with the disease, but what worries everyone is whether people in Ukraine have access to treatment.

In Sudan, 18,000 people received treatment for tuberculosis in 2021, according to the Stop TB Partnership, which is managed by the U.N. Office for Project Services and aims to achieve a world free of tuberculosis.

But Ditiu said the situation there for TB sufferers, because of the ongoing fighting and collapse of most of the health system, is “probably like a ticking bomb.”

She noted how fast a COVID-19 vaccine was developed, in less than a year, and lamented that it has taken 19 years to get three or four vaccines for TB to phase 3 trials because of a lack of money.

“Very often, unfortunately, TB is very forgotten,” she said because “it affects usually people in the low-income countries with a lot of vulnerabilities.”


This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning, and thanks for your company.

I’m Caroline Schelle, it’s Tuesday, May 9, and I’ll be anchoring our live coverage for the first half of the day before the budget is handed down.

Here’s what you need to know before we get started:

  • Today’s budget will reveal the Australian economy is set to suffer its biggest slowdown since the depths of the pandemic.
  • Treasurer Jim Chalmers is also set to unveil a budget surplus of $4 billion, which will help to pay for new spending measures to assist households.
  • According to a Treasury report, the Albanese government’s changes to taxes for offshore oil and gas projects will net $13 billion less than another option.
  • The boss of PwC in Australia has stepped down following fallout of from a tax scandal, after a former partner was banned by the Tax Practitioners Board for leaking confidential government tax plans.
  • Political activist Sally Rugg settled her unfair dismissal claim with independent MP Monique Ryan.
  • Indonesian abattoirs violated live export rules according to an Australian government probe, please be aware this story contains graphic details.
  • Meanwhile, Victoria’s building regulator is under fire over virtual inspections with surveyors claiming the construction watchdog ignored their warnings.
  • In NSW, the state’s Nationals kicked out their leader Paul Toole just a month after he was re-elected to the role.
  • Overseas, the official portraits of King Charles III and Queen Camilla have been released to mark the coronation, and readers can see them here.
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