The winners and losers of Labor’s federal Budget are already shaping up, against a backdrop of immense cost of living pressure and economic turmoil.
A day out from Treasurer Jim Chalmer’s official Budget reveal, government officials have already shared several key measures designed to help small businesses, the unemployed, over 55s and single parents.
But Australians have been warned not to expect vast government spending to help them as they struggle with decades-high inflation and interest rates which have risen 11 times in just over a year. On Tuesday, the RBA shocked most financial analysts by lifting the cash rate to 3.85 per cent, adding hundreds of dollars to the cost of the average mortgage.
But Australia’s stubbornly high inflation rate means despite the pain, Australians expecting the any ‘cash splash’ in the Budget will be sorely disappointed, Deloitte economist Stephen Smith said.
The winners and losers of Labor’s federal Budget are already shaping up, against a backdrop of immense cost of living pressure and economic turmoil
Three days out from Treasurer Jim Chalmer’s official Budget reveal, government officials have already revealed several key measures designed to help small businesses, the unemployed, over 55s and single parents
Mr Smith said while there will undoubtedly be some measures to offset the cost of living, too many handouts would risk worsening inflation and seeing more rate rises, which would cripple the economy.
‘Do too little, and low-income households, and the economy more generally, will be left teetering,’ he said.
‘While higher spending appears unavoidable, importantly, that can’t be via a blank cheque.’
Although the national economic outlook is uncertain, Mr Smith noted ‘it’s still brighter than what Treasury had assumed in the 2022-23 October Budget’.
And on the back of booming commodity prices, most experts and even the leader of the Opposition Peter Dutton, expect a Budget surplus to be announced on Tuesday.
Daily Mail Australia details what we know about the 2023 Federal Budget already.
Cost of living
The budget will contain a measure that will help over five million households and one millions small businesses pay soaring power bills.
For more than five and a half million households the amount they can claim is expected to be up to $500, depending on how high prices are and whether a household is on a pension or other fixed income.
It will also depend on what state or territory a household or business is in because it will vary by ‘how much the states and territories are prepared to kick in, because this is a co-investment with them,’ Dr Chalmers said.
Wage rises for health workers
The one group who are set to score a significant, $10,000-a-year pay rise are 250,000 care workers .
The frontline workers will be given the record salary bump to battle the cost of living crisis. It is also expected to improve equal pay statistics for women.
The ‘historic’ 15 per cent pay rise will cost the federal budget more than $11 billion, the government said.
Dr Chalmers believes the huge increases will be enough to attract new staff to the industry and keep existing workers.
The frontline workers in aged care (pictured) will be given the record salary bump to battle the cost of living crisis, and is also expected to improve equal pay statistics for women
The government is expected to increase the Jobseeker payment by up to $2.85 a day, or $40 per fortnight.
After reports of an increase for those over the age of 55, Mr Chalmers on Sunday confirmed any rise would apply to all Jobseeker recipients.
At present payments for a single adult with no dependent children are $693.10 per fortnight, or $49.50 a day, and slightly less for those in a live-in relationship.
Those with a dependent child or who are over 60 receive $745.20 a fortnight, or $53.22 a day.
$20,000 tax relief for small businesses
Up to 3.7 million small and medium-sized businesses will be eligible for $20,000 of tax relief, which must be used for equipment to slash their energy bills.
This incentive is estimated to cost $314 million over the four year period.
$768 cash boost for young carers
Young people under 25 who are caring for a loved one will be entitled to $3,768 in support – $768 higher than in the past.
This will be a near $10 million funding increase.
Childcare subsidy increased
Childcare funding will increase by $1.4 billion this budget, taking total government spending for the next four years to $55.31 billion.
The Budget will also include $72.4 million over five years to boost skills and education within the sector.
Childcare funding will increase by $1.4 billion this budget, taking total government spending for the next four years to $55.31 billion
Cheaper medicines and more scripts
Some medicines will be available two for the price of one in a move which could benefit up to six million Australians.
A total of 325 medicines are expected to be included in the list, treating a range of conditions from heart disease and Crohn’s to cholesterol.
The changes could save the government $1.2 billion each year.
$50 million for Long Covid research
$50 million will be injected into the Medical Research Future Fund to explore the long term effects of Covid-19.
The NDIS will be a core consideration of this Budget, after it was identified as one of the largest sources of pressure to the government’s bottom line.
An ‘annual growth target’ of eight per cent has been announced in an attempt to save more than $50 billion on the scheme in the next decade. Advocates describe the move as a ‘cut’ to the scheme in real terms. The current growth rate is at about 14 per cent.
The Albanese Government will spend $48.3 million in the 2023-2024 Budget to crack down on fraud and non-compliance within the scheme.
The Budget will dedicate $2.2 billion to taking pressure off the hospital network and beginning a Medicare reform process.
This will also include money specifically utilised in repairing primary healthcare services.
The Budget will dedicate $2.2 billion to taking pressure off the hospital network and beginning a Medicare reform process
Flavoured vape bans and crackdown
Recreational vaping will be banned as the government seeks to prevent Australia having a new generation of nicotine addicts.
To tackle the growing black market, the government will increase the product standards for vapes, including by restricting flavours and colours.
Regulation will see pharmaceutical-like packaging, a reduction in the allowed nicotine concentrations and volumes, and a ban on single-use vapes.
Children under four having been reported to Victoria’s poisons hotline as having used a vape.
‘This is a product targeted at our kids, sold alongside lollies and chocolate bars,’ Health Minister Mark Butler said. ‘Vaping has become the number one behavioural issue in high schools, and it’s becoming widespread in primary schools. This must end.’
The Minister said the hard-won gains in public health relating to the reduction in smoking could be undone by a ‘new threat’.
‘Vaping was sold to governments and communities around the world as a therapeutic product to help long-term smokers quit,’ he said.
‘It was not sold as a recreational product, especially not one for our kids. But that is what it has become – the biggest loophole in Australian history.’
At least $234 million will be dedicated to tackling the issue, including $63 million for an information campaign.
The use of vapes among young people has become a major concern for health authorities
Rise in cigarette taxes
The Albanese government has announced three tobacco price hikes will be in next week’s Federal Budget – raising $3.3billion in revenue.
Health Minister Mark Butler announced the tax on tobacco will be increased by five per cent per year over the next three years, beginning on September 1.
Mr Butler said the changes will raise an additional $3.3billion over the coming four years, including $290million in GST payments to the states and territories.
He said it would help ‘to support our health system and the health of current and former smokers and vapers’.
Protecting Australians against heart disease
The Albanese government will extend the Medicare rebate for heart health assessments until June 30, 2025 this Budget.
The check is considered the nation’s best tool for preventing heart disease.
Mr Butler said: ‘Heart disease is Australia’s biggest killer – one Australian has a heart attack or stroke every 4 minutes. About 2.5 million Australians have a high chance of suffering a heart attack or stroke in the next 5 years, and many don’t know it.
‘The former Government would have had these crucial heart health assessments expire on 30 June 2023 but with about 250,000 people expected receive a heart health assessment over the next 2 years, our government’s action on this has the potential to save thousands of lives.’
Tax and Super
Tradies lose out
Tradies will likely soon lose the right to instantly write off their utes as small businesses pay more tax under an anticipated Budget change.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers has given no hint the former Coalition government’s instant asset write-off measures will be extended in the May 9 federal Budget.
Under those measures – formally known as ‘temporary full expensing’ – tradies can claim the whole cost of a work ute or van on tax in one year, rather than over eight.
The cost of a vehicle is now capped at $64,741 – which covers Australia’s two bestsellers, the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger.
The tax arrangements also allowed businesses with a turnover of up to $5billion a year to claim the cost of office equipment like furniture and computers upfront in one year – with an unlimited threshold. That also applied to tools and machinery.
Under current plans from July 1, small business owners with a turnover of less than $10million will be able to immediately write off the cost of assets costing less than $1,000.
Above that level, items have to be claimed over the life they are used in the business, which can range from three years for a computer to several decades for major production machinery.
Tradies will likely soon lose the right to instantly write off their utes as small businesses pay more tax under an anticipated Budget change
- Change to tax breaks for balances of $3 million
Australians with super balances of more than $3 million will no longer get generous tax breaks under a new plan announced by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
Taxpayers can voluntarily deposit up to $27,500 a year into their super and pay a low concessional tax rate of just 15 per cent if they earn up to $250,000 a year.
But Mr Albanese wants to double that tax rate to 30 per cent for Australians with more than $3million in their super, from July 1, 2025.
That affects some 80,000 people – the top 0.5 per cent of super savers – and would save the federal budget about $2 billion a year.
The other 99.5 per cent of Australians would continue to receive the ‘same generous tax breaks’ of 15 per cent.
The change won’t kick in until after the next election, due by mid-2025.
- Super to be paid on payday
The government is set to announce a plan to force employers to pay superannuation in real time on payday, rather than only making a single contribution each year.
Experts believe it could give young workers an additional $50,000 by the time they retire.
‘This is a big win for the three million mostly young and lower paid Australians unfairly deprived the super they’ve earned and will give them a better shot at building a good nest egg for retirement,’ Industry Super Australia Chief Executive Bernie Dean said.
Taxpayers can voluntarily deposit up to $27,500 a year into their super and pay a low concessional tax rate of just 15 per cent if they earn up to $250,000 a year
How much you get back under Stage Three tax cuts
Tax liabilities for 2024-25 compared with 2022-23
Stage three tax cuts to remain the same
There are not expected to be any changes to the hotly debated Stage Three tax cuts, as per Labor’s election promise.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s government had been expected to dump the cuts, which his Liberal predecessor Scott Morrison legislated in 2019 to come into force from July 1, 2024.
But Industry and Science Minister Ed Husic on Friday said that dumping the policy in the May 9, Budget would be a breach of faith with voters.
When the cuts kick in, the number of tax brackets will slashed from five to four, for the first time since 1984.
Those earning more than $200,000 stand to get back $9,075, compared with now.
A new 30 per cent marginal tax rate would apply for those earning $45,000 to $200,000.
This will reduce the income tax burden for about nine million Australians. The Australian Parliamentary Budget Office estimated the Stage Three tax cuts would cost $243billion over 10 financial years from 2024-25.
Millions of Aussies slugged with bigger tax bill
Australians earning less than $126,000 per year will pay more tax after the former government’s low and middle income tax offset expired.
The offset was first introduced by the Turnbull government and provided relief of up to $1,500.
It was due to end this year, regardless of who was in government.
Single parents thrown lifeline
Single parents will be entitled to extra cash under an expected Budget policy to be announced.
As it stands, single parents receive extra welfare until their child is eight. It is anticipated this will rise to 14 in the new Budget.
The decision is seen by many as an opportunity for Mr Albanese to reflect on decisions made in his party’s past, after they cut household incomes for single parents by $200 a fortnight in 2012.
The PM said in 2013 ‘the sole parent payment is an area where we made a mistake’.
Single parents will be entitled to extra cash under an expected Budget policy to be announced. Siblings and friends will also be able to buy a home together under an expansion of the current First Home Buyer Guarantee
Mates and family members eligible for Home Buyer grants
Siblings and friends will be able to buy a home together under an expansion of the current First Home Buyer Guarantee.
Previously, married or de facto couples were the only dynamic eligible to apply, but Anthony Albanese has revealed he will open up the scheme to give other pairings a leg up into the housing market.
However, the cap on 50,000 annual spaces will remain in place.
Major action against SMS scammers
$10 million will be spent to help tackle the increasing number of scam SMS messages plaguing Australians.
The money will be spent to help launch a technology which should prevent scammers from mimicking brand names in texts.
$10 million will be spent to help tackle the increasing number of scam SMS messages plaguing Australians
Government-funded cadet journalists
Up to 56 cadet journalists will be hired and deployed to 38 regional newsrooms across the nation on the government’s dime.
National Library of Australia – Trove
The government has already assured the National Library of Australia of $33 million worth of funding over the next four years.
The NLA runs a digital archive, Trove, which holds billions of resources accessible to the public.
Arts Minister Tony Burke said it was crucial the NLA was given a just amount in the budget, after what he described as years of ‘culture wars and budget cuts’ toward the sector.
‘Trove is, in many ways, Australia’s digital memory: It records and retains some of our most important stories, moments, challenges, controversies and successes in one accessible location,’ he said.
‘Whether you’re using it to look up a bit of family history, or for academic research, Trove is an incredibly important part of our national cultural institutions.’
The government has already assured the National Library of Australia of $33 million worth of funding over the next four years
The Voice campaign
The government will launch an education campaign ahead of the referendum, expected sometime between October and December.
Australian Institute of Marine Science
The Australian Institute of Marine Science has already been guaranteed $163.4 million worth of funding in the upcoming budget.
It comes after Labor learned it was one of many projects teetering on a ‘funding cliff’ due to run out this year. Parts of the building were unusable due to mould infestations and rotting air conditioning units.
AIMS CEO Dr Paul Hardisty said the four-year funding commitment would be ‘transformational’.
‘The funding is a vote of confidence in AIMS to continue our mission to provide the knowledge which will result in the better management, protection and sustainable development of Australia’s tropical oceans,’ he said.
‘With the Great Barrier Reef and coral reefs globally facing enormous pressures driven by increasing temperatures under climate change, this investment in marine science is more important than ever.’
Text pings for national emergencies
Labor will spend $10million on a national emergency warning system to ‘ping’ mobile phones which are identified as being in the path of a natural disaster.
Messages can be sent in multiple languages and temporarily override anything else a person is doing on the device at the time.
Immigration – visa changes
There are expected to be some changes to Australia’s immigration policy announced in the Budget.
In his October mini-budget, Mr Albanese offered up an additional $576 million over four years to the department of Home Affairs for visa processing and migration.
New figures suggest Australia’s net migration is set to reach 400,000 this financial year and 315,000 next year.
And from July 1, the beginning of the financial year, New Zealanders will have an easier pathway to Australian citizenship. If a New Zealander has been living in Australia for four or more years, they’ll be eligible to directly apply for citizenship.
A new visa will also be introduced specifically for migrants from Pacific nations and Timor Leste. 3,000 spots will be allocated via an annual ballot process.
Student visas will also be relaxed to allow them to seek employment for 48 hours per fortnight.
$50,000 bonus if troops re-enlist for three years
A $400 million cash splash to lure ADF soldiers back into the fold will be announced.
The plan will offer 3,400 soldiers a $50,000 bonus if they re-enlist for an additional three years in an attempt to combat a recruitment and retention crisis.
Hundreds of ScoMo’s projects could be scrapped
Projects announced under Scott Morrison’s government will be subjects of probes, with hundreds on the chopping block.
The independent review will determine which of the projects are sustainable, necessary and achievable.
Senator Gallagher claimed the Budget was ‘booby trapped’ by Scott Morrison on his way out
BUDGET WINNERS AND LOSERS
Single Parents – Single parents will be entitled to extra cash until their child turns 14
Over 55s on Centrelink – Jobseeker participants over the age of 55 will be entitled to more cash
Immigrants – A host of visa changes will make it easier for immigrants to move to Australia
Small Businesses – Up to 3.7 million small and medium-sized businesses will be eligible for $20,000 of tax relief
Care Workers – A quarter of a million aged care workers are set for a huge $10,000 a year pay increase
Young Carers – Young people under 25 who are caring for a loved one will be entitled to $3,768 in support – $768 higher than in the past
Families with children in childcare – Childcare funding will increase by $1.4 billion this budget
First homebuyers – Siblings and friends will be able to buy a home together under an expansion of the current First Home Buyer Guarantee
Tradies – Tradies likely lose the right to instantly write off their utes
Smokers and Vapers – Recreational vaping will be banned while the tax on tobacco will be increased by five per cent per year over the next three years
People with more than $3 million in super – Australians with super balances of more than $3million will no longer get generous tax breaks from July 2025
Low and Middle Income Earners – Australians earning less than $126,000 per year will pay more tax after the former government’s low and middle income tax offset expired
JobSeeker participants under 55 – There will not be any changes to JobSeeker for people aged under 55, despite pleas from experts
Emphasis on fixing ‘booby traps’
A ‘significant portion’ of the upcoming federal Budget will be dedicated to ‘fixing booby traps’ left by the Morrison government.
Senator Gallagher said Labor has discovered $5 billion worth of programs and services that the Coalition had no plans to fund.
This is on top of $4.1 billion worth of gaps in funding that were plugged in the October mini-budget.
‘It was booby trapped. Without a doubt,’ she said. ‘It’s taken us some time to uncover them because programs are ending on the 30th of June this year or next year. And we’ve worked through that, but there’s no doubt they were booby trapped.’
The current concerns centre on mental health programs, funding for eating disorder treatment, monitoring high risk terror offenders and continuing a domestic violence national partnership agreement.
‘We are cleaning up the Liberals’ Budget mess in a methodical, responsible and transparent way,’ Senator Gallagher said.
‘For example, there was no money in the budget for the agency responsible for safely storing and disposing of Australia’s radioactive waste, and there was a significant drop-off in funding to keep women and children safe online.
‘This was put simply a political strategy to dress up their pre-election budget bottom line and try to trick Australians into voting for them again.’
Senator Gallagher said there was actually no money at all in the budget for the agency, despite its responsibility to safely store and dispose of Australia’s radioactive waste
The Labor government is reportedly expecting to post a surplus in the federal Budget in an astonishing fiscal turnaround.
The small surplus has been made possible by higher iron ore, coal and gas prices, while low unemployment reduced the welfare bill.
This would be the first Budget surplus since 2007, when the Coalition was in power before the Global Financial Crisis worsened.
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said he, too, is predicting a surplus.
‘I think it’s obvious now that and I think it’s predictable that there will be a surplus,’ he said.
‘The revenues from royalties, company, tax receipts, etc. are through the roof and the government obviously has a big spending program.’