NEWSFLASH! In October I will join The Conversation as its Business and Economy Editor. I have been honoured to work at The Age for the past ten years, originally alongside Tim Colebatch, and for the past four years as its economics editor.

At The Conversation, my job will be to make the best thinking from Australia's 40 univerisites accessible to the widest possible audience. That means you. From the new year I will also write a weekly column.

Below are most of the important things I have written for Fairfax and the ABC in recent decades. It's a record for me as much as you.

I'll continue to post great things from The Conversation and other places here, and also on Twitter and Facebook. Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Budget 2011-12: What we know


The give...

$772 million (over five years)
Extending Family Tax Benefit A to cover teenagers aged up to 18

$425 million (over four years)
Awarding performance bonuses to teachers

$350 million (over four years)
Allowing small businesses to instantly write-off the first $5000 of new cars cost from 2012-13

$309 million
Giving each full pensioner a free digital TV set top box

$292 million (over four years)
Taking 4000 genuine refugees from Malaysia

$281 million (over four years)
Giving each trades apprentice a $1700 bonus

$200 million (over 2.5 years)
Grants to schools to support students with disabilities

$47 million (over four years)
Enforcing tougher welfare rules for teen parents

$27 million
Giving former prisoners of war an extra $500 each fortnight

Negligible cost:

Lifting the proportion of the Low Income Tax Offset paid weekly

Requiring very long term unemployed to volunteer two days per week 11 months per year

Boosting skilled migration 20,000


...the take

$3.1 billion (over four years)
Closing chronic dental disease scheme

$1.9 billion (over four years)
Means testing private health insurance rebate

$1.1 billion (over four years)
Boosting public service efficiency dividend

$950 million (over four years)
Tightening FBT rules for employer-provided cars

$700 million (over one year)
Deferring until 2012-13 tax discounts on interest earned

$500 million (over four years)
Halving upfront discount for HECS payments

$365 million (over four years)
Axing Entrepreneurs Tax Offset

$300 million
Cutting 1000 Defence jobs

$54 million (over four years)
Tightening tax rules for charities


...and the forecasts

2.25%
GDP growth 2010-11

4.5% unemployment
By June 2012

500,000 extra jobs
By June 2013

$51 billion
Budget deficit 2010-11

$16 billion
Budget deficit 2011-12

More than $3 billion
Budget surplus 2012-13


More tonight!