Budget 24/25:  “A fairer go” - Salt 106.5

Budget 24/25:  “A fairer go”

The Albanese government’s budget will provide welcome relief to families, but the Opposition argues it doesn’t address a core issue.

By Salt 106.5 Network Wednesday 15 May 2024Finance and BusinessReading Time: 4 minutes

In tough economic times comes a budget bearing gifts – including a $300 surprise.
Key points
  • “The number one priority of this government and this budget is helping Australians with the cost of living,” treasurer Jim Chalmers said.
  • The budget includes a $300 energy rebate for every household, tax cuts, cheaper medicine, 10 per cent increase to the rent assistance.
  • Opposition treasurer Angus Taylor said the budget doesn’t address inflation or cost of living. “It’s a band aid on a bullet wound.”

Last night, treasurer Jim Chalmers unveiled his third budget for the Albanese government, saying that its main goal was to relieve household pressure.

“The number one priority of this government and this budget is helping Australians with the cost of living,” he said.

“Growth and opportunity”

To that end, the 2024/25 Federal Budget – which comes with a $9.3 billion surplus – is providing:

  • A $300 energy rebate for every household from July 1
  • Tax cuts
  • Cheaper medicine
  • 10 per cent increase to the rent assistance.

The treasurer called the budget an economic plan where “growth and opportunity go together,” he said.

“The number one priority of this government and this budget is helping Australians with the cost of living,” Jim Chalmers said.

“This government and this budget delivers for every Australian a tax cut for every taxpayer, wages growing in every industry, a better deal for every working parent, a fairer go at every checkout, new help with energy bills for every household and for small business.”

Energy rebate

In one of the biggest budget surprises, all households will receive a $300 energy rebate in a scheme that will cost $3.5 billion.

The scheme also includes a $325 rebate for eligible small businesses.

The government says the rebate equates to a 17 per cent reduction on the average power bill.

“The ABS [Australian Bureau of Statistics] has shown how cutting energy bills directly cuts inflation, too,” said Mr Chalmers, “keeping the lights on for families and businesses – and keeping downward pressure on inflation.”

Stage-three tax cuts

In a measure that has already been legislated, “all 13.6 million taxpayers will get a tax cut,” said the treasurer.

From July, every Australian earning under $146,000, will take home on average, $36 a week more.

The cost-of-living measure includes a reduction in the bottom tax rate from 19 per cent to 16 per cent.

To find out what your savings will be, use the ABC’s calculator here.

Medication

The cost of medications listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) will be frozen for everyone with a Medicare card for two years.

This means the price for each prescription will be capped at $31.60.

And prescriptions for pensioners and concession card holders will be frozen for the next five years.

The budget includes an energy rebate, tax cuts, cheaper medicine, increase to the rent assistance.

“Meaning no pensioner or concession cardholder will pay more than $7.70 for the medicine they need,” said Mr Chalmers.

Housing

To tackle the housing crisis across Australia, the government is providing $1 billion for states and territories to spend on housing infrastructure, and $423 million over five years for social housing and homelessness services.

The government said that the total $6.2 billion in new investments will –

  • Clear local infrastructure bottlenecks
  • Provide more housing for students
  • Fund more social and affordable housing.

“And we will also deliver better transport for better access to suburbs, cities and regions,” said treasurer Chalmers.

Still, Mission Australia Executive Ben Carblis said the budget did little to address homelessness.

The funding “leans towards relatively small-scale contributions,” he said in a statement provided to Hope 103.2. “And contains very little new investment to tackle Australia’s homelessness and housing emergency.”

Rent relief

For those on low incomes, the government will invest $1.9 billion to raise the rates of the Commonwealth Rent Assistance by 10 per cent (from September 20).

“It’s the first back?to?back increase to Commonwealth Rent Assistance in more than 30 years,” said Mr Chalmers.

“And more much?needed help for young people and renters of all ages doing it tough.”

Women

Australian women also benefit from the budget through a number of measures.

These include –

  • Superannuation on paid parental leave
  • Investment in women’s shelters
  • Helping women escape domestic violence by with up to $5,000 in financial support to eligible women
  • $49.1 million investment into tackling endometriosis (women suffering from the disease can have longer time with their specialist doctor covered under Medicare).

“And we’re directing $1 billion towards accommodation for women and children fleeing domestic violence, and youth,” said Mr Chalmers.

Student debts

In good news for higher education graduates, the government will wipe $3 billion from student debt (by dropping the indexing of HECS and HELP debts).

This will be backdated to June last year.

The measure will “save the average person around $1,200,” said the treasurer.

“Churn and change”

The treasurer said that this budget shows the Albanese government is “realistic” about the pressures people are currently facing, while still looking to the future.

“It reflects our biggest ambitions and our highest aspirations,” said Mr Chalmers.

Opposition treasurer Angus Taylor said the budget doesn’t address inflation or cost of living. “It’s a band aid on a bullet wound.”

“To make Australians the primary beneficiaries of a world of churn and change. And in that effort, to make Australians and Australia more secure, in the bigger opportunities we shape, and the future we make, together.”

“Band aid on a bullet wound”

Though the opposition leader Peter Dutton has yet to deliver his Budget Reply speech, opposition treasurer Angus Taylor said the Labor government’s budget does not address the cause of inflation and rising cost of living.

“It’s a band aid on a bullet wound,” he said.

“We’ve seen a massive reduction in Australian standard of living, seven and a half percent, under Labor. And this budget shows that that’s not going to be turned around.”

For more information visit here.


Feature image: Photo by CanvaPro