Australia to spend more on defense, security in next budget

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Australia’s Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says the government’s upcoming budget will increase spending on defense and national security while reducing household expenses

With Russia at war with Ukraine and China’s military becoming more assertive, Frydenberg foreshadowed “further investments in defense and national security reflecting the challenges that we now face.”

With inflation increasing in Australia and elsewhere driven in part by higher oil prices, the government is expected to reduce its 44.2 Australian cent (33 U.S. cent) a liter ($1.25 a gallon) tax on gasoline.

“Tonight in a temporary, in a targeted, in a responsible way, we will provide cost of living relief,” Frydenberg said.

The Australian Institute for Petroleum said the national gasoline price average fell 5.8 Australian cents (4.3 cents) last week to Australian $2.06 ($1.54) per liter ($5.86 per gallon).

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Frydenberg said he would also reveal a “material improvement to the budget bottom line.”

Economists are expecting a deficit of between 70 billion-80 billion Australian dollar ($52 billion-$60 billion) for the current fiscal year compared with the 99.2 billion Australian dollar ($74.3 billion) shortfall predicted by the government in December.

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