Federal Mini-Budget

Dec 19, 2022

The Federal Government’s mini-Budget was designed to implement key election promises and focused on  cost-of-living relief; targeted economic investments; and economic recovery and budget repair. The content largely referred to announcements already made, or previously flagged.  

What we liked: 

  • Government has followed through on its commitments to the Uluru Statement from the Heart. There is funding for a referendum on a Voice to Parliament, to be held in 2023. We were especially heartened to see funding for a Makarrata Commission, which shows the Government is looking beyond the establishment of the Voice to full implementation of the Uluru Statement. 

  • Measures to address social and affordable housing supply are very welcome. We ultimately need much more than what was announced, but previous neglect by successive governments mean this will be a long-term project, and it is good news to have the federal government back at the table. 

  • The ‘wellbeing budget’ concept focuses government revenue and expenditure on the public good and, crucially, measuring progress against social outcomes. It is an explicit acknowledgement that the economy exists for people, and not the other way around. While not there yet, the government has clearly marked a a path forward for future budgets.  

  • We wholeheartedly support the Treasurer’s call for a public discussion on tax reform, the structural deficit, and  what Australians expect  from government. In particular, we added our support for the Stage Three tax cuts to be scrapped or significantly changed. If the cuts go ahead the Government will be left with little money to build and maintain well-being. Instead, they will be foregoing hundreds of billions of dollars to make inequality worse by taking away the progressive nature of the tax system. The tax cuts are expensive, unfair, and unpopular. Even those set to benefit say they don’t need them. 

What we missed: 

  •  JobSeeker and other payments remain woefully inadequate at a time when high inflation is making a cost of living crisis worse. We understand this is a complex balance, and  increasing government spending risks pushing up inflation, but for too long those on the lowest incomes have been deprived. of the basic requirements for living a good life. As a country we are morally failing this cohort, and they need and deserve relief. Renters were also neglected in the budget. In order to keep people housed and avoid homelessness and its devastating flow-on effects, the Federal Government needs to introduce rent relief for lower income households. We’re continuing to advocate on these issues, contacting Federal Members of Parliament and Senators to communicate our concerns and push for amendments to legislation and inclusions in the May 2023 budget. 

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