Australia strikes deal with opposition to save $4.8 billion

AP News
Posted: Sep 13, 2016 2:26 AM

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The Australian government, keen on reining in debt and maintaining its endangered AAA credit rating, struck deals Tuesday with the opposition to pass 6.3 billion Australian dollars ($4.8 billion) in savings through the Senate.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said the cost-cutting bill, which will reduce government payments to families and pensioners, would be introduced into Parliament this week.

"It helps, but it doesn't resolve the issue," Morrison told reporters, referring to mounting public debt.

The agreement with the opposition Labor Party came in the second week that Parliament has met since elections in July left Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's conservative coalition with a smaller minority in a more fractious Senate.

Observers believe the makeup of the senate will make it harder for the government to implement its economic reform agenda as the mining sector continues to decline due to China's slowdown.

Labor said it the savings measures because the proposed legislation was more fair.

"Labor promised the Australian people we would undertake budget repair that is fair, and we are delivering on that promise today," opposition leader Bill Shorten told reporters.