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Aussie budget gets A$6.3b boost as Turnbull wins savings

Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - 13:28

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Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's bid to rein in a budget deficit has been boosted after the main opposition backed a package of laws that will result in A$6.3 billion (S$6.45 billion) of savings.

[CANBERRA Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's bid to rein in a budget deficit has been boosted after the main opposition backed a package of laws that will result in A$6.3 billion (S$6.45 billion) of savings.

The government has secured agreement from the Labor Party for its so-called omnibus bill to pass in the Senate, where the ruling Liberal-National coalition lacks a majority, Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

"This demonstrates that we are delivering on our economic plan," he said in a joint briefing with Treasurer Scott Morrison Tuesday. "With goodwill and good faith, working across the aisle, we can deliver results in this parliament."

A year after seizing power from Tony Abbott in a Liberal lawmaker vote, Mr Turnbull's political fortunes have ebbed after leading the government to a narrow victory in a July election.

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S&P Global Ratings cut the outlook on Australia's AAA credit score in July to negative from stable, saying the poll result potentially dented the government's prospects for shrinking a deficit forecast to reach A$37.1 billion next year.

As part of the omnibus bill negotiations, Labor leader Bill Shorten told reporters in Canberra he secured A$800 million in funding over five years for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, which helps pay for solar and wind-energy projects.

Asked by a reporter whether passing the bill would bring the budget back into balance, Treasurer Morrison said: "It helps, but it doesn't resolve the issue."

The deal demonstrates that the government "can get savings through the parliament," he said.

"That is a very good story for me to be able to take to New York to the ratings agencies."

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