Skip to content
Federal Budget, Political

This is a budget that has a hole in its heart

ACOSS 3 mins read

Media release | Tuesday, 14 May 2024

The government has correctly identified a set of serious challenges: a slowing economy, rising unemployment, falling spending power, a housing crisis and a climate crisis.  

This is a budget that has diagnosed the right problems but has failed to deliver the solutions we need.

There are some positive measures, including investments in Services Australia, the Remote Jobs Program, positive signals on employment services reform, a very modest rent assistance increase worth up to $9 a week for a single person, as well as additional investment in key services including homelessness, Family Violence Prevention Legal Services and emergency relief.

However, there is a gaping hole at the heart of this budget.

At a time when unemployment is being deliberately increased to curb inflation, the government is deliberately and cruelly denying people receiving unemployment payments decent income support.

This budget will deliver eyewatering tax cuts to the wealthiest people in the country and, at the same time, it cruelly denies the increase in income support that over one million people struggling to survive on JobSeeker and Youth Allowance desperately need.  

The $300 energy rebate will be the only cash support the majority of people on JobSeeker and Youth Allowance will receive. Extending it to everyone – regardless of income – is extraordinarily wasteful. It does not target support to people most in need.

The budget’s investments in renewable energy are welcome and critical if we are to address the climate crisis. However, we also needed to see similar investment to support people on the lowest incomes to transition to renewables, including having rooftop solar on their homes. People on the lowest incomes are worst affected by the climate crisis but have the least resources to manage the transition.  

The modest Commonwealth Rent Assistance increase builds on last year’s rise, giving a single person an extra $9.40 a week if they’re receiving the maximum rate. Based on median rents, private renters receiving JobSeeker or Youth Allowance will still be in deep housing stress because their base rate of payment is so low. Even with the increase, they will be paying half of their income in rent alone.

ACOSS welcomes the Remote Jobs Program, which delivers $777m over five years to create 3,000 jobs. People in remote areas are at highest risk of unemployment and this is a welcome step to improving employment opportunities. Disappointingly, Remote Area Allowance was not increased in this budget, despite having stayed the same rate for more than 20 years.

The extension of the higher rate of JobSeeker for people who cannot work more than 0 to 14 hours will support 4,700 people – not even half a percent of the more than one million people receiving JobSeeker and related payments unable to afford food.

People on the lowest incomes expected and deserved much more in this Budget.

ACOSS welcomes the adjustments to the Carer Payment – this will make it easier for carers to engage in paid work, without fear of their payment being cancelled. ACOSS also welcomes the $600m per year over three years for frontline staff at Services Australia to reduce the backlog of claims. Services Australia needs investment to improve service delivery so that people are not waiting months for payment claims to come through.

The government has failed to take the bold action required to address the housing crisis, effectively maintaining current inadequate funding levels for the National Agreement for another five years when there is huge demand for social housing. We welcome the additional funding for homelessness services and community housing, but ultimately many people will still be without an affordable home after this budget.

This budget was an opportunity for the government to take bold action to address the serious issues the country faces. While it has identified these challenges, its actions fall well short of delivering solutions.

Contact details:

Georgie Moore
0477 779 928

Charlie Moore
0452 606 171

More from this category

  • International News, Political
  • 23/05/2024
  • 10:51
Monash University

Monash Expert: UK election announced

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced 4 July as the date for the UK general election, despite commentators predicting an election later in the year. A Monash University expert is available to talk about why the Prime Minister may have brought the election date forward and the outlook for both major parties. Associate Professor Ben Wellings, Politics and International Relations Contact details: +61 421 470 181 or Read more of Associate Professor Wellings’ commentary at Monash Lens The following can be attributed to Associate Professor Wellings: “Despite the Conservatives trailing by 20 points in the polls no-one should…

  • Political
  • 23/05/2024
  • 10:30
Community Housing Industry Association

CHIA launches national domestic and family violence standards

The Community Housing Industry Association has today launched a new set of national standards to help housing providers respond effectively to domestic and family violence. The standards include offering victim-survivors the chance to move house where required, ensuring homes are promptly maintained, and making sure staff are trained in how to work with victim-survivors and help them access support services. The standards cover seven areas including: • Building a skilled workforce • Facilitating access to support for victim-survivors who are tenants • Strong access, tenancy management and maintenance practice • Monitoring of operational performance • Advocacy and community engagement •…

  • Education Training, Political
  • 23/05/2024
  • 08:01
Parliament of Australia

Why isn’t civics education working?: Electoral matters committee begins hearings

TheJoint Standing Committee on Electoral Matterswill hold the first public hearing for itsinquiry into civics education, engagement, and participation in AustraliaonThursday 23 May 2024. Committee Chair,Ms Kate Thwaites MP,said ‘it’s concerning that many young Australians don’t have the grounding in civics to set them up to be confident participants in our democracy. ‘Data from the National Assessment Program – Civics and Citizenship shows that in 2019 just 38 per cent of Year 10 students and 53 per cent of Year 6 students achieved the ‘proficient’ standard. 'As we begin our inquiry, the Committee will be investigating how civics forms part…

Media Outreach made fast, easy, simple.

Feature your press release on Medianet's News Hub every time you distribute with Medianet. Pay per release or save with a subscription.