The cash was splashing in Canberra on Tuesday night with the release of the 2024-25 Federal Budget with many economists worried its sweeteners will ultimately fan slow-burning inflation.

The Budget delivers cost-of-living relief – and perhaps a convenient interest rate cut – in the run-up to next year’s federal election.

Sound good so far? Let’s check the everyday winners and losers from this year’s Budget, starting with who else but…

The winners

Households

Low- and middle-income earners

  • The centrepiece of the federal government’s promised cost-of-living relief was the long-touted changes to the stage three tax cuts. The tax changes will come into effect from 1 July, giving more than 13.6 million taxpayers an extra $1,888 a year in their pockets, on average.

Renters

  • Commonwealth Rent Assistance will be boosted by 10%, following a 15% increase in last year’s Budget. It aims to combat the unprecedented rise in rents nationally since the end of the pandemic.
  • The federal government also announced another $1.9 billion in financing to providers of social housing and affordable dwellings to build more homes.

Homebuyers

  • The federal government’s Help to Buy Scheme will be boosted by $5.5 billion for lower-income Australians. Under the scheme, the government provides an equity contribution up to 40% of the price of new homes and 30% for existing homes.
  • One billion dollars will be directed to state governments to build infrastructure to support the development of new homes.
  • The Albanese government’s Housing Australia Future Fund that promises 1.2 billion new homes over the next five years kicks off from 1 July, when the first $500 million of funding will be released.

See: How will homebuyers benefit from the 2024 Federal Budget?

Pensioners

  • A single aged pensioner will be around $3,300 better off with the government extending a freeze on the deeming rate for another 12 months. The rate is what the government assumes pensioners and other income support recipients are earning on any assets they hold and can affect the amount of pension and other payments recipients are entitled to.
  • Pensioners will also benefit most from a five-year freeze on the maximum patient co-payment for medicines bought under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). This will also extend to other concession card holders. A one-year freeze will also apply to everyone with a Medicare card.

See: How will pensioners benefit from the 2024 Federal Budget?

Parents

  • Superannuation will be paid on the 20-weeks of government-funded parental leave from 1 July 2025. Around 180,000 families access government parental leave payments every year.

Students

  • The government will wipe around $3 billion in inflation-driven increases in HECS debts, backdated to apply to last year’s indexation of 7.1%. The change will see a graduate with an average HECS-HELP debt of $26,000 have around $1,200 wiped from their bill. From now on, indexation will be based on the lower of inflation or the wage price index.
  • Nursing, teaching, and midwifery students will be paid $320 a week for practical work placements as part of their university courses.

Aged care workers

  • Pay for workers in the aged care sector will increase although wage rises are still to be determined.

See: Federal Budget 2024-25: What it means for Aussie savers

The losers

Consultants

The government will cut its spending on consultants and contractors, instead boosting public service numbers to bring those skills in-house.

International students

Places for overseas students will be cut and allocated according to the availability of accommodation at the universities they wish to attend.

NDIS rorters

Money has been allocated to investigate fraud, rorts, and inefficiencies in the National Disability Insurance Scheme, which has seen successive cost blowouts.

The Reserve Bank of Australia?

The RBA will now have to wrestle with the new funds injected into the Australian economy which may hamper their efforts to douse stubborn inflation.

Dr Chalmers has said Treasury projections forecast the inflation rate will be at the target range of 2-3% by December this year, a year ahead of the RBA’s forecast of December 2025.

This may largely be achieved by negating one of the Consumer Price Index’s key inflation measures – electricity.

The cynics would say the rebate hand-outs are designed to put pressure on the RBA board to deliver an interest rates cut, nicely timed for the lead-up to next year’s federal election.

But there are many variables that could play out. Stay tuned.


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