Looking for news of the 2024 Federal Budget? Find it here.

This relief forms part of a broader $14.6 billion package to tackle cost of living pressures that the government says will not pour fuel onto the 'inflation fire'.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said in his budget address that the Budget presented to the Australian people provides cost of living relief that is responsible, affordable, prioritises those most in need and delivers historic investments in Medicare and the care economy.

"These are the foundations on which our Government is building a stronger economy and a fairer society," Dr Chalmers said.

Power bill relief

The government will provide financial relief to more than five million households with a $1.5 billion Energy Bill Relief Fund.

This will see pensioners have their electricity bills subsidised by up to $500 to reduce the impact of rising energy prices on Australian households. with the size of assistance provided by the government dependent on the state or territory the recipient resides in. 

JobSeeker increase

The government will increase the rate of JobSeeker by $40 per fortnight, with Aussies aged 55 to 59 who have been unemployed for more than nine months to receive an extra $92.10 a fortnight to bring them into line with those aged 60 and older. 

Cheaper medicines & boosting Medicare

Announced prior to the budget, the government will provide Australians the ability to purchase two months’ worth of medicine for the price of a single prescription.

The change effective 1 September 2023 will save general patients up to $180 a year if their medicine is able to be prescribed for 60 days, with concession card holders saving up to $43.80 a year per individual medicine.

The government will also invest $3.5 billion to triple the bulk billing incentive for pensioners and other Commonwealth concession card holders, to provide access to a greater number of bulk-billing GPs. 

Incentives to work

The government will provide $3.7 million in 2023–24 to extend the measure to provide age and veteran pensioners a once-off credit of $4,000 to their Work Bonus income bank and temporarily increase the maximum income bank until 31 December 2023.

Under this measure, pensioners can earn up to $11,800 before their pension is reduced, supporting pensioners who want to work, or work more hours without losing their pension.

Increased quality of aged care

The government will increase the pay rate of all age care workers across Australia by 15% in line with the Royal Commission into Aged Care, to create more opportunities and deliver better quality aged care to those in need.

The $11.3 billion investment will be spread over four years to boost age care worker pay packets from 1 July 2023. 

The government details these initiatives will help relieve workforce pressures and support the sector to increase average care minutes and ensure a nurse is available 24/7.

Further, to support older Australians who wish to remain at home for longer the government is investing $166.8 million to provide an additional 9,500 Home Care Packages. 


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