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People looking to buy an affordable house
First-home buyers will be delighted as the Albanese government ramps up its commitment to affordable housing by unveiling a National Housing Accord. The plan builds on election promises to set up a housing future fund, for a government co-investment scheme and a regional housing scheme. But it will be two years before anyone starts building one of these homes.
The construction industry will also be pleased as the Housing Accord promises one million homes will be built over five years from 2024. That’s a lot of overtime.
Families and would-be families
Particularly those who are into family planning. By 2026, expanded paid parental leave will offer 26 weeks of leave, up from 20 weeks, while childcare costs will be slashed from July 1 next year. The two policies cost $531.6 million and $4.7 billion respectively.
The suburban rail loop in Melbourne, Queensland’s Bruce Highway, high-speed rail between Sydney and Newcastle and even Canberra’s tram will all benefit from $8.1 billion in new money for infrastructure projects.
TAFE and uni students
A whopping 480,000 free TAFE places have been promised over four years and an extra 20,000 university places have been promised over two years. These will target skills shortages in areas such as health, education, engineering and technology.
Climate change
The budget contains nearly $25 billion in climate-related spending out until 2030, including $20 billion for Anthony Albanese’s “rewiring the nation” plan, which is designed to upgrade the electricity grid to ensure more renewables can be fed in.
Electric vehicle buyers
About $275 million will be spent to encourage the use of electric vehicles with more charging stations and support for heavy industry to adopt hydrogen trucks. A $345 million cut to fringe benefits tax will save employers who provide EVs $9000 per year, or individuals $4700 per year.
Anthony Albanese’s department
Prime Minister and Cabinet will receive an extra $45 million funding to “support the government’s policy agenda”, as well as $23 million to support Australia hosting a meeting of the Quadrilateral leadership dialogue, $100 million to deliver housing in NT homelands and $5.8 million to implement a Makarrata truth-telling commission.
Aged care
The average number of minutes that nursing home residents receive care will rise to 215 minutes per resident, per day by October 2024, at a cost of $2.5 billion over four years. There’s also $845 million for aged care facilities to manage the impact of COVID.
Across the country, Australians will be feeling the pain as electricity and gas prices are forecast to keep rising – though the Albanese government is not to blame. Global factors such as the war in Ukraine, which have forced up commodity prices, have contributed to soaring bills across the world.
States and territories have missed out on an extension of the additional hospital funding that had been made available at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s all but certain that the states and territories will be making their feelings known in the months to come, before the extra funding – which was worth an extra $808 million in 2022-23 – runs out in December.
Tax avoiders and rorters
Multinational firms are targeted for a bigger share of their revenue, while the Tax Office has been given extra resources to chase down dodgy receipts, egregious claims and other accountancy fiddles, which is estimated to deliver about $4.7 billion over four years to the budget bottom line. A new fraud squad will crack down on rorting of the National Disability Insurance Scheme at a cost of $126 million.
Consulting firms
Outsourcing of government work to private consulting firms is set to be slashed, with Labor targeting a $3.6 billion, four-year saving. Much of the work will return to in-house public service teams.
The Australian Building and Construction Commission
The ABCC’s funding is gone, delivering a saving of $61 million over four years. More money will be spent on the Fair Work Ombudsman, but it remains to be seen if this will be sufficient.
National water grid
The National Party’s plan for new dams has been gutted, losing $1.7 billion in funding over the next four years and $4.6 billion over 12 years. This includes the proposed $5.4 billion Hell’s Gate dam near Townsville. Barnaby Joyce and Bob Katter will be fuming.
Fines for any federal crime will increase from $222 to $275 from January 1, as a starting point, and the fines will be indexed every three years. These fines will cover breaches of federal law relating to communications, financial law, tax and fraud. This will raise $31.6 million over four years.
The regions and car parks
People looking for a car park, particularly in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, will be driving around for longer after the Coalition’s much-criticised commuter car parks program was axed. Savings of $2.8 billion have been found by slashing the urban congestion and commuter car park funds, while another $10.2 billion in funding has been cut from programs designed to benefit regional Australia.
Small business
Billed as the engine room of the economy in the budget, the new spending measure is small bananas – a $15 million debt help and counselling hotline.
Cut through the noise of federal politics with news, views and expert analysis from Jacqueline Maley. Subscribers can sign up to our weekly Inside Politics newsletter here.
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