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Long-term investment for industry flagged for budget

Industry Minister Ed Husic released two papers to spur public discussion on artificial intelligence.

Industry Minister Ed Husic released two papers to spur public discussion on artificial intelligence. Photo: AAP

The federal government will prioritise long-term investment in the upcoming budget, with hints the bottom line will come in better than expected.

Industry Minister Ed Husic said investment would flow to sectors where it was needed.

It includes science and technology, with $60 million to go towards Canberra’s iconic Questacon.

Mr Husic said interest in science and technology would be important for economic growth into the future.

The money will go to upgrading exhibits for the 150,000 school children who visit the institution annually and helping Questacon take its projects on the road to regional communities who can’t get to the nation’s capital.

“Being able to generate new jobs, secure jobs is really important for us,” he told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

Mr Husic said the budget could be handed down in a healthier position than what was expected.

“We also know that clearly there’s a likelihood to be able to, through a lot of the work that we’ve been doing, see some improvement in the budget.

“But there are still challenges and we need to be in a position to deal with those.”

Nationals frontbencher Barnaby Joyce said the previous government needed some credit for the strength of Australia’s economy.

“If the budget gets to a surplus … maybe it’s the last 10 years of government that helped it get there,” the former deputy prime minister told Seven’s Sunrise.

He also said soaring export prices added to the bottom line, with iron ore revenue significantly higher than forecast in the last budget.

“If the budget is a surplus you can thank coal miners and gas exporters and iron ore exporters,” he said.

Finance Minister Katy Gallagher said there would be a “significant improvement” to the bottom line” with billions in savings after a spending audit.

Senator Gallagher has also flagged ongoing cost of living relief, but hasn’t commented on the specifics.

The federal budget will be handed down on May 9.

– AAP

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