New Zealand Markets open in 2 hrs 35 mins

Thank world for better budget position:ALP

 

It's just over a week until Treasurer Scott Morrison hands down his third budget but already announcements are coming thick and fast, including half a billion dollars in funding to restore and protect the Great Barrier Reef.

Personal tax cuts have already been flagged for the May 8 budget and flushed with additional tax revenue, the government also scrapped its planned Medicare levy increase which was supposed to fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The government's monthly financial accounts released on Friday showed the underlying budget deficit for 2017/18 was more than $7 billion better off than expected as of March, boosted by $5.2 billion in additional tax revenue.

But Labor isn't about to credit the Turnbull government for any improvement in the budget bottom line.

Opposition finance spokesman Jim Chalmers says good global conditions are supporting the budget bottom line rather than anything the government has done.

"We have really an extraordinary amount of tax revenue rolling through the door now," Dr Chalmers told Sky News on Sunday.

"Billions and billions of dollars of new revenue, which has nothing to do whatsoever with any action the government has taken."

Whatever the case, the government has allocated $500 million in the May budget for the Great Barrier Reef.

Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said it was a game-changer that would help secure the reef's future.

"This is the single largest investment in restoration and management in Australia's history," he told ABC News.

But the cash splash has been met with criticism from Labor and conservationists who have accused the government of not doing enough to address the thing that poses the biggest threat to the reef, climate change.

Separately, Health Minister Greg Hunt said more than 200,000 women would receive $200 towards 3D breast cancer screening as part of this budget.

From November the tests, which cost hundreds of dollars, will be subsidised by Medicare.

"If we can diagnose it early enough then the chances of survival are so much greater, that's why this new Medicare item is so important," he said.

At the same time, Sports Minister Bridget McKenzie announced $36.9 million over three years towards Australia's water safety sector.

She said "the coalition government is committed to doing all it can to reduce drownings after 291 people needlessly lost their lives last year.

"This longer-term funding will give organisations the ongoing support they need to do their vital work," she said in a statement.