Australia plans major spending plus surplus in 3 years

In his budget speech the treasurer, Scott Morrison, said the bank levy was a "fair contribution from our major banks, similar to measures imposed in other advanced countries" and said it would "even up the playing field for smaller banks". Net debt as a share of GDP is expected to peak in 2018-19 before declining over the remainder of the forward estimates. Just $5 a month. But the economy has been sluggish in recent years, following the end of a decade-long, China-fuelled mining boom.

However, like Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the conservative government is pinning its hopes on a surge in wages growth, albeit with forecasts that would make Abe blush.

Spending on hospitals will increase by $2.8 billion over four years. Such policies are not a plan for jobs and growth.

Commentators predicted that measures such as the banks' tax and extra spending on retirees and infrastructure were likely to prove popular.

There's fairness and opportunity, just not much security.

The levy will only be paid by Australia's five largest banks with assessed liabilities of $100bn or more and excludes superannuation funds and insurers.

However, like any annual federal budget, there was a long list of winners and losers, with numerous latter unable to vote on the measures.

An extra $18.6 billion in funding over 10 years under Turnbull's Gonski 2.0 plan goes some way towards the Coalition restoring its education credentials, but is being complicated and potentially derailed by a fierce debate over Catholic school cuts.

It's all bad news for the nation's banks as the shock $6 billion levy revealed in Tuesday night's budget sinks in with market watchers.

Mr Zimmerman said retailers welcomed some budget measures, such as increased infrastructure spending, but said the government had "missed the mark" by focusing on additional taxation to fix the deficit as opposed to cutting spending.

In foreign policy, defense spending was projected to rise by 5.3 percent a year through to fiscal 2021, reaching almost A$34 billion.

Also on Mr. Turnbull's priority list is an inland rail corridor stretching 1,000 miles. A hostile Senate blocked several key planks of that budget. The strongest measures hit relatively easy targets such as foreigners and the rich, while potentially clawing back support lost in elections a year ago to populist and right-wing parties who wield the balance of power in Parliament.

Australian banks have themselves promised unprecedented reforms, including reviewing sales commissions, supporting whistle-blowers and black-listing individuals for poor conduct.

"This measure is meant to encourage foreign owners of residential property to make their properties available for rent where they are not used as a residence and so increase the number of dwellings available for Australians to live in", Mr Morrison said.

"I can confirm tonight that the budget is projected to return to balance in 2021 and reminds and surplus over the medium term".

Productivity growth has slowed in Australia, like in other high-income economies.

"In requiring big banks to give consumers greater control over their own data, the government has stood up to the banking sector lobbyists and shown it's serious about boosting competition in financial services in Australia".

The government's announcement that it will legislate a mandatory comprehensive credit reporting regime, if credit providers are not reporting at least 40 per cent of their data by the end of 2017 - this initiative should help improve fintech firms' access to positive credit data to provide more choices for consumers. In particular it increases the vulnerability of the government to a negative shock.

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