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The Informer: Australian federal budget 2021 to prioritise growth over repair

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has warned Australians they should take nothing for granted as the economic recovery from COVID-19 gathers pace ahead of next week's budget, which is set to prioritise growth over budget repair via a series of targeted spending measures.

Mr Frydenberg's pandemic budget will contain significant targeted spending on housing, job creation, aged care, mental health, childcare, infrastructure and a package focused on women's economic and physical security.

Single parents buying their first home may soon be able to do so with a deposit of only 2 per cent under a new federal scheme.

The program allows first home buyers to obtain a loan for a new or newly built home with a deposit of as little as 2 per cent with the government guaranteeing up to 18 per cent of the loan.

Under the measure announced ahead of Tuesday's federal budget, up to 10,000 first-time buyers with dependents will be able to access the scheme over four years.

The government has also extended its similar First Home Loan Deposit Scheme to an additional 10,000 buyers.

Both measures are designed to fuel construction and boost property ownership.

Mr Frydenberg said the expansion built on the government's HomeBuilder program, which provided grants of $25,000 for new homes and major renovations.

"The government understands the importance of owning your own home and the significant economic and social benefits home ownership provides," he said.

In non-budget news, the father of a Sydney woman died earlier this week in India, days after the Australian government banned flights from the country and announced anyone - including citizens - who attempted to defy the new rules would be fined up to $66,600 or risk five years' jail, or both.

Sonali Ralhan accused the government of ignoring her pleas to bring her 59-year-old father home and instead abandoning him to die of the coronavirus.

In an open letter to the Prime Minister posted on Facebook, Ms Ralhan, an Australian citizen, said she contacted embassy officials in India a few weeks ago with "great hopes" they would help her parents, long-term residents of Australia, return home safely.

More than 9000 Australians are in India registered as wanting to return, and at least 950 of them registered as vulnerable.

And finally, with Mother's Day upon us tomorrow, millions of Australians have ways to show their gratitude on their mind and intend on spoiling their mums with everything from flowers to pyjamas.

Twenty six per cent of us will choose a Mother's Day bouquet, comparison site Finder says after conducting a national survey.

Mother's Day cards (20 per cent) and chocolates (19 per cent) were the next most popular choices among 913 respondents surveyed late Friday afternoon.

Sixty-two per cent of Aussies said they planned to get Mum something for Mother's Day.

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