Community Newsletter

2024 Federal Budget Analysis

14 May 2024



Budgets are about priorities and whilst it was good to see the Government prioritise our transition to clean technology with $22.7 billion for the Future Made in Australia plan, it missed the mark in action on climate change with no funding for essential measurement and monitoring of methane, and had little to no funding for adaptation and preparation to climate change impacts for the vast majority of Australians.

Locally, the Government has failed to fund the much needed and successful climate resilience support for regional children delivered by Royal Far West.

Whilst priding itself on a surplus, the Government continues to fail to address entrenched revenue challenges and generational inequity. The budget papers noted that gas companies traditionally have not paid much taxes yet the proposed PRRT is set to recoup less revenue than beer, despite gas companies making record profits.

The Government assisted cost-of-living with legislated Stage 3 Tax Cuts, energy relief to all households of $300 and energy relief for small businesses. It finally extended the Small Business Asset Write-Off to 2025 but as this was announced in the 2023 budget and is still not legislated, the real test will be in the Government’s ability to actually deliver the support.

I welcome the changes to HECS HELP indexation and small increases to Housing Assistance but ultimately, there is still no increase to JobSeeker and Austudy, keeping many Australians in dire need of assistance below the poverty line.

Finally, for the Government to address the urgent crisis of women’s safety, significant additional funding was required to Legal Aid and frontline services in addition to the announced $5,000 grants for Leaving Violence, but disappointingly there was no increases in the budget. This is not good enough.

As we hit record temperatures month after month, and scientists around the world call out the lack of political will by Governments to genuinely phase out all fossil fuels, the Government cannot have a bet each way, committing to the expanding gas extraction with its Future Gas Strategy without funding for proper methane monitoring.

See below more detail with some of the numbers around the key announcements.

Climate & Environment


  • $155m on the New Vehicle Emissions Standards for more affordable EVs
  • $209.3m on the Net Zero Economy Authority
  • $48m to improve the Australian Carbon Credits Scheme
  • $138.7m for disaster response through National Emergency Management Agency
  • $40.9m for Nature Positive Plan
  • $19m for Sydney Harbour Trust
  • $100m for an Active Transport Fund and $115m for a zero-emissions bus depot in Macquarie Park


  • Billions in fossil fuel subsidies, set to increase
  • No new funding for home electrification
  • No new allocation for methane measurement and monitoring, key to emission baselines
  • No additional funding for waste or plastics recycling


Beyond the Future Made in Australia policy, the budget outlines the government’s intention to continue to decarbonise the economy with the establishment of an independent Net Zero Economy Authority to co-ordinate Australia’s economic transition as well as sufficient agency funding to deliver its upcoming sector decarbonisation pathways.

It’s good to see $155m for the New Vehicle Emissions Standards, including $60m for charging infrastructure. This will deliver more affordable EVs and the ongoing associated cost savings that Australians can enjoy.

I also welcome the investment in our carbon credit market with $48m allocated to improve our carbon credits scheme and its integrity, something I have been advocating for in the last 12 months.

Australia’s intention to host COP31 is also clearly evident with a $76.2m investment for international climate engagement. This will be an opportunity for Australia and highlights the shift Australia has made over the last few years on climate change policy but significantly more ambition is needed - starting with a commitment to a minimum of 75% emissions reduction by 2035 as our next nationally determined contribution under the Paris Agreement.

Of great concern, Australia has been found to be consistently underreporting its methane emissions, and whilst this required only a $5.5m investment to ensure proper measurement and monitoring, there was nothing in the budget. It is disappointing that this funding was not prioritised given how critical it is that our emissions inventory has integrity to achieve the Government’s 43% emissions reduction target and commitments under the Paris Agreement.

We know climate change is already here, costing our economy and households with the increase in frequency and severity of extreme weather events. This budget outlines some narrowly targeted funding for responding to climate change impacts, including $138.7m for preparedness to respond to all-hazard disasters, $393.1m for farmers fighting drought, $5m (for only 1 year) for great barrier reef protection and $450m to water associated resilience programs. That’s it.

However, the budget fails to recognise the huge cost to households of greatly increased home insurance premiums in the order of 28% and a failure to invest in the opportunities to curb these costs through home and community resilience programs. The Government has missed the opportunity for funding to National Risk Assessment, the National Adaptations Strategy, further funding to the Building Resilience Council and extending the sustainable investment taxonomy to adaptation measures, which would unlock private investment to drive increased resilience to flooding, bushfires and other extreme weather events.

In terms of nature, for all this Government’s talk about addressing our national biodiversity and extinction crisis, it has delayed the Nature Positive Reforms and amendments to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act. However, this budget does give me confidence that although overdue, these reforms will be addressed with a further $40.9m over two years allocated, including $121m to establish Environment Protection Australia to enforce protection of nature and $51.5m for Environment Information Australia to ensure quality and authoritative environmental data to support decision making.

We continue to spend billions in fossil fuel subsidies, including fuel tax credits which are set to increase over the forward estimates as well as an additional $32.6m to support some of Australia’s biggest fossil fuel companies to explore unproven carbon capture and storage.

Financial Relief


  • Stage 3 Personal income tax cuts
  • $300 energy bill relief for every household, $325 energy bill relief for some small businesses
  • Changes to HECS indexation.
  • New payment for some students on placements as part of their study
  • Superannuation to be paid on Government-funded paid parental leave
  • The price of prescription medications listed on the PBS will be frozen for a year


  • Rate of Jobseeker, Youth Allowance and Austudy remain inadequate and below the poverty line
  • Small and limited Commonwealth Rent Assistance
  • Nil for electrification of household and long term energy cost relief
  • The placement payment is limited only to those studying to be nurses, midwives, teachers and social workers, not extended to all students on placements


As announced earlier this year, everyone is getting a tax cut under the Government's revamped Stage 3 package. The energy relief for households is also welcome.

It is positive to see the Government finally heeding the calls of many to fix the broken HECS system. But we still need the Government to go further. Debts are indexed on 1 June of each year. Repayments taken by the ATO throughout the year are not applied to reduce the balance of the student debt until lodgement of income tax returns, after 1 July every year. The repayments are not applied to reduce the debt prior to the debt being indexed. This needs to change. Either repayments withheld by the ATO are applied in real time to decrease the debt balance prior to indexation or the indexation date should be moved to a date after the end of the financial year.

The establishment of a Commonwealth Prac Payment to support students undertaking mandatory workplace placements required for university and vocational education qualifications is good progress. It will go some way alleviating the ‘placement poverty’ that many have faced. However, it doesn’t cover all placements. I will be raising this with the Minister – it must cover as many students on placements as possible.

Encouragingly, the Government says it is committed to funding a wage increase for early childhood education and care workers once the Fair Work Commission processes are complete.

The lack of any substantive uplift in Jobseeker, Youth Allowance, Austudy and Commonwealth Rent Assistance is a real concern and will only widen the growing inequality we are facing around the country.

Still, generational inequity looms large, from housing to student debt to climate damage, and yet again the Government has not even tried to implement any truly transformative measures. The changes in this budget, whilst positive for some, fall short of the full change needed for young people.

New Economy


  • $22.7b for Future Made in Australia
  • $1.5b increase to Australian Renewable Energy Agency from FY27/28
  • Instant asset write-off for eligible small businesses extended to 2025
  • $39.9m for safe and responsible AI


  • Budget deficits forecast from next year for consecutive years
  • PRRT on gas companies generating less revenue than predicted
  • No additional funding for Research and Development grants


This budget shows the Government’s priority to make Australia a renewable energy superpower but there's limited investment in other types of innovation and no major investments to address intergenerational inequity.

I welcome the government’s investment in transforming our economy to clean opportunities with the Future Made in Australia Fund.

With the passing of the US Inflation Reduction Act and trillions of dollars of private investment flowing in the US as a result, many of the world's countries are racing to become leading renewable economies. In recent months I have been engaging with industry, unions and environmental groups, advocating for Australia to join the race, with investment in the order of $100b over 10 years.

Tonight’s budget allocates $22.7b, which although short of what is needed, includes significant investment to value-add and map our critical minerals, support emerging hydrogen capability, reindustrialise with advanced manufacturing, including support for solar manufacturing and batteries and critically includes production tax credits for hydrogen and critical minerals.

Previously the government announced the small business instant asset write-off in its 2023 Budget but failed to legislate it. I moved amendments to extend it to 2025 and finally the Government has agreed to this. It is vital that the Government legislates and makes this available to small businesses without delay.

The Government has committed to increase women as CEOs in Government agencies and supports AusTrade identifying and prioritising female led businesses, but unfortunately there is no further funding for the Boosting Female Founders grant.

There is also a commitment to support the arts including $117.2m for the national performing arts training organisations which I have called for, and the Australian Film Television and Radio School.

Ultimately no major reform address intergenerational inequity. More revenue is needed and the clear opportunity is through the PRRT. The budget identifies gas companies have not paid tax but still propose to collect less revenue from gas companies than from beer!

The budget also shows grossly inadequate changes to the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax that merely bring forward money owed to Australians from polluting gas companies, locking in our resource rent tax as the weakest in the world.



  • $925m over five years for $5,000 grants for the Leaving Violence Program
  • $1b directed towards crisis and transitional accommodation for women and children fleeing domestic violence.


  • No increase to National Legal Assistance Partnership and Family Violence Prevention Legal Services funding
  • No transparency mechanism or clarity or where and how the spending on domestic violence from the Federal Government is going, or what effect it is having in delivering the national plan
  • No increase to Legal Aid Funding
  • No funding for Street Work and Youth Up Front, organisations that implement crime prevention initiatives for young people within our community


Australia is facing a crisis of women’s safety yet there are no significant, sustained funding increases needed to address male violence and women’s safety. There’s no significant funding increase for legal services such as Legal Aid and Women’s Legal Services Australia.

There is no ongoing, long term commitment for frontline services for domestic family and sexual violence, including crisis services, community education ongoing and consistent prevention work, refuges and emergency housing.

Whilst the government has made some commitments, much more is needed. The Leaving Violence Program breaks down to around $185 million over five years, only funding around 37,000 women per year to leave an abusive partner – that isn’t enough when it is estimated that 1 in 6 Australian women experience violence at the hand of their partner.



  • The price of prescription medications listed on the PBS will be frozen for a year
  • $49.1m to help women with complex gynaecological conditions receive consultations of 45 minutes or longer
  • $56.5m to implement all of the recommendations from the Medicare Benefits Schedule Review Taskforce for midwives
  • $1.2m to support training for health practitioners to better treat, care and manage women’s health during menopause
  • Eligibility for free bowel cancer screening lowered from age 50 to 45
  • 24,100 additional aged care home packages


  • No ongoing funding of vital regional climate resilience programs delivered by Royal Far West
  • $56m over 4 years for women’s health services on miscarriages, pre-term or early-term births, stillbirths, early pregnancy and menopause
  • No new funding for the National Health and Climate Strategy and Centre for Disease Control
  • Funding cut for youth support and youth crime prevention


There is good news on the midwifery front. The government has committed to implementing all the recommendations from the Medicare Benefits Schedule Review Taskforce. This funding will help lead to better antenatal and postnatal care for expectant and new mums.

Australia’s mental health crisis has been highlighted in the recent Bondi killings, drawing a spotlight on the lack of support available to people with mental health issues in this country. This budget again fails to deliver, particularly for the ‘missing middle’, those that are impacted by mental health issues severely but are not acute enough to be admitted to hospital. Accessibility and long wait times are faced by those that seek care. Investment to expand the offerings of free mental health services, including a digital mental health service that won’t require a referral, is a start but more is required.

Overall, the freeze to PBS medicines, changes to pharmacy dispensing and increased flexibility for nurse practitioners and midwives to prescribe medication will assist in delivering more affordable health services.


I have mixed feelings about the budget. It outlines a clean energy transition and better future in the making but still falls short in key areas. There is some relief in sight for households and small businesses but the proof will be in whether the Government is able to deliver its policies in a timely way to make differences for people who are genuinely struggling right now.

And if you want to really get into the weeds, the Budget Papers are here.

Finally, a fun fact ... The budget papers consist of about 9,500 pages in total – it would take 1,147 hours or 47.8 days straight to read ... so thank you to my team for delivering this snapshot to you tonight.

Congratulations on making it to the end!

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