The Albanese Government promised a budget that would build “stronger foundations for a better future” with a $14.6 billion cost of living package at the centre.
Despite a more than $4 billion surplus, the first in its kind in 15 years, Treasurer Jim Chalmers chose to carefully distribute its unexpected windfall of tax revenue toward Australia’s most vulnerable.
From single parents, to renters, and low-income earners, here’s who wins and who loses.
The Single Parent Payment program cut-off age will be expanded until the youngest child turns 14, up from the previous age of eight.
In September, around 57,000 eligible single parents, of whom 90% are single mothers, will transition to a base rate of $922.10 per fortnight until their youngest child turns 14.
This means single parents who are currently on JobSeeker will receive an additional $176.90 per fortnight.
Australians aged over-55
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.
Base rates of supporting payments including JobSeeker, Austudy, and Youth Allowance will increase by $40 per fortnight for eligible people as of 20 September 2023.
The current maximum rate of a single with no children is $693.10 per fortnight.
Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) CEO Cassandra Goldie said the budget is both a hit and miss.
“The real increases to base rates of JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and Rent Assistance will still leave more than one million people in poverty, unable to afford three meals a day and a roof over their head,” Dr Goldie said.
“Whilst every dollar counts, the $20 a week increase to JobSeeker and related payments is well below the Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee’s finding that it needs to rise by at least $128 a week to ensure people can cover the basics.”
Read More: What's in the Federal Budget for savers?
Renters receiving assistance
Renters who currently receive Commonwealth Rent Assistance will see the maximum rates increase by 15%, up to $31.36.
For a single CRA recipient with no dependents who does not share their rental home with anyone else, and who is receiving the maximum amount of assistance, their payment would increase from $157.20 a fortnight to $180.80.
It is expected to benefit up to 1.1 million households from 20 September.
CoreLogic Head of Research Eliza Owen said the increase in CRA payments is modest relative to the broader increase in rents across the market.
“While this at least recognises challenges faced by renters, $31 per fortnight is a modest increase relative to the rise in private rent values,” Ms Owen said.
“CoreLogic imputed rent values suggest the national median rent has increased the equivalent of $113 per fortnight in the year to April alone.”
First home buyers
First-home buyers looking to get into the property market will be able to team up with siblings and friends to cobble together a deposit under a newly expanded Home Guarantee Scheme.
From 1 July, any two eligible borrowers can apply to the scheme, you no longer have to be married or in a de-facto relationship.
Under the new changes, Australian permanent residents will also be eligible as well as non-first home buyers who have not owned a property for 10 years.
The government will provide Australians the ability to purchase two months’ worth of medicine for the price of a single prescription.
Concession card holders may save up to $43.80 a year per individual medicine while general patients could save up to $180 a year if their medicine is able to be prescribed for 60 days.
The changes will come into effect 1 September 2023.
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.
The managed investment trust withholding tax will be reduced from 30% to 15% for newly constructed build-to-rent developments from 1 July 2024.
The Government expects the scheme to deliver 150,000 rental properties over 10 years.
Middle class Aussies
Australians who are well off - aren’t a single parent, don’t receive any form of government assistance - will miss out on the major centerpieces delivered by the Labor government.
They are likely ineligible for the energy bill relief, won’t receive any increase to rent assistance, and won’t benefit from the GP incentives.
The low-middle-income tax offset (LMITO) was also abolished after last year's Federal Budget so those anticipating a large tax refund might be disappointed.
If you’re a scammer, bad luck I’m afraid. Over the next four years, $86.5 million will be allocated toward fighting scams and online fraud.
That includes $58 million for the creation of a National Anti-Scam Centre and $17.6 million for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to take down phishing websites.
Australian Banking Association (ABA) Chief Executive Anna Bligh welcomes the Budget which invests significantly towards fighting scams and fraud, bolstering online safety, and increased gambling protections.
“This is a Budget that prioritises customer safety,” Ms Bligh said.
“Given the scourge of scams on our society, the Federal Government clearly understands that combating scams needs to be a cross-sector fight.”
If you’re ready to leave Australia’s sandy shores (whether for a holiday or for good), you’ll be hit with a $70 Passenger Movement Charge, up from $60. This change is set to come into effect from 1 July 2024.
It had been $60 since 2017, and is baked into the cost of an overseas airfare.
Employers trying to avoid paying superannuation
From July 2026, employers must pay super contributions when they pay salary and wages. This mandatory change is expected to save $1.1 billion by 2026-27, with younger employees set to benefit the greatest.
Got a super balance of over $3 million? Earnings on balances greater than $3 million will be taxed at 30% come July 2025, up from the current concessional tax rate of 15%.
The Treasury expects this to impact 0.5% of superannuation members, or 80,000 people.
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