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What’s in the federal budget for me? Here’s a quick guide

Here we go again, another federal budget has been handed down mere months after the last one.

In Canberra on Tuesday, Treasurer Jim Chalmers described his first budget as “responsible, affordable, and sustainable”.  

“It provides cost-of-living relief which is responsible, not reckless — to make life easier for Australians, without adding to inflation,” he said. 

There’s plenty of detail to unpack, but first here’s a breakdown of what it could mean for you and your family. 

Young Australians and students

Young people reading today’s budget and bursting with ideas of how to do things better may soon find themselves with the opportunity to be heard. 

The government has promised $10.5 million in funding over the next four years to establish an Office for Youth and develop a new Youth Engagement Strategy that will “enable young Australians to influence the policies and programs that affect them”.

A steering committee of young people — in consultation with youth advocates and their peers — will inform the development of the strategy.

Five advisory groups will also be assembled to work “directly on new policies and programs across government”.

There’s also good news for those dreaming of going to university or TAFE.

The government has promised 480,000 fee-free spots at TAFE and community vocational education centres over the next four years — starting with 180,000 places in 2023.

Students who face barriers to entering work and study will be prioritised as part of the scheme — which is estimated to cost $871.7 million over five years — as well as industries and regions with skill shortages. 

The government has also pledged to fund an additional 20,000 Commonwealth-supported university places — in courses such as teaching, nursing and engineering — to be set aside for students from groups typically under-represented in higher education.

These include First Nations students, those who are the first in their families to attend university, students with disability and students from rural and remote regions. 

“Because no Australian should be denied — by poverty, by postcode, or by lack of privilege — their chance at a better future,” the Treasurer said on Tuesday. 

The new places — which are estimated to cost the government $491.8 million over the next four years — will commence in 2023 and 2024. 

Then, in a bid to stem widespread teacher shortages, another $160 million has been set aside to fund bursaries of up to $10,000 per year for students with an ATAR of 80 or over who enrol in a teaching degree. 

The funding covers up to 5,000 bursaries a year for the eight years from 2023-24. An extra $2,000 in support will also be made available for students who do their final-year teaching placement in a regional area. 

A further $15.4 million has been earmarked over the forward estimates to establish a new Startup Year program, which will grant income-contingent loans through the Higher Education Loan Program to up to 2,000 recent graduates, postgraduate students, and final-year undergraduate students per year.

The program is targeted at supporting students while they participate in a “one-year, business-focused accelerator program” at a higher education provider. 

At the same time, however, the government will scrap a policy that allows students to save 10 per cent on the cost of their university course if they pay up-front, rather than deferring payment through the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (more commonly known as HECS). 

The change is forecast to save the government more than $144 million over the forward estimates. 

Older Australians

There are a couple of measures designed to reduce the financial impact on baby boomers who are looking to downsize, which will free up housing stock for younger families.

For those looking to put the proceeds of a house sale into super,  the minimum age for downsizer contributions to super has been lowered from 60 to 55. This allows people to make a one-off post-tax contribution to their superannuation of up to $300,000 per person from the proceeds of selling their home.  

For pensioners looking to downsize,  the assets test exemption for principal home sale proceeds will be extended from 12 months to 24 months.

Do you miss out on a Seniors Health Card? The good news is that the income threshold will increase from $61,284 to $90,000 for singles and from $98,054 to $144,000 (combined) for couples, at a cost of $69.6 million over four years.

Social security deeming rates will also be frozen at their current levels for a further two years until June 2024, to support older Australians who rely on income from deemed financial investments, as well as the pension, to deal with the rising cost of living.


There are no changes to the pension rates in the budget, but there’s one measure designed to let those on a pension further supplement their income with work.

The government will provide $61.9 million over two years to provide age and veterans pensioners a once-off credit of $4,000 to their Work Bonus income bank.

This means pensioners can earn up to $11,800 this financial year, up from $7,800, before their pension is reduced.

People who need a pay rise

It’s bad news on the wages front, unfortunately. Looks like we’ll be waiting until 2024 to see real wages growing again.

Inflation is still expected to reach 7.75 per cent in December, while wage growth remains lagging behind. 

And while stage 3 tax cuts didn’t get the chop in this budget, they’re not sure to come into effect until July 2024.

While the government says that, on average, wages are growing faster than they were before the election, rising bills and grocery prices mean that isn’t helping yet. 

Parents and families

There’s good news for parents — and those who are looking to become parents: two tranches of Mr Chalmers’s five-point cost-of-living relief package are aimed at you.

The less good news is that you’ll have to wait until July next year to feel the benefit. 

Firstly, child care. From July 2023, the Child Care Subsidy rates will increase up to 90 per cent for eligible families who earn less than $530,000.

Families will also still receive existing higher subsidy rates of up to 95 per cent for any additional children in care aged 5 and under.

The budget papers say that makes child care more affordable for 1.26 million families, with 96 per cent of affected families better off and no family worse.

For would-be parents, the government’s paid parental leave scheme will be expanded over the next four years, reaching up to 26 weeks in 2026, in what’s touted as the biggest reform to the scheme since it was introduced.

The scheme will take a “use it or lose it” approach to encourage both partners in two-parent families to access leave.

The Women’s Economic Equality Task Force will take a look at an optimal model for 26 weeks of leave, including setting the number of weeks that parents can access at the same time and the mix of “use it or lose it” weeks.

Indigenous Australians

The budget includes a number of items targeted at improving Indigenous health and education outcomes as well as “a record $99 million invested in First Nations justice”.

Almost $315 million over five years has been pledged to support initiatives aimed at closing the gap for Indigenous Australians’ health and wellbeing, including a $164.3 million investment in modern health clinics in areas with large and growing Indigenous communities, $54.3 million to deliver up to 500 traineeships in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care; $45 million for 30 new and upgraded dialysis units and $22.5 million to build a Birthing on Country Centre of Excellence.

The funding for improved Indigenous justice outcomes will primarily go towards initiatives aimed at “addressing the underlying causes of incarceration” and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services.

The government will also spend more than $14 million over the forward estimates to support teaching First Nations language and culture in 60 primary schools.

And, of course, there’s $75.1 million put aside over the next two years for the referendum on enshrining an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the constitution. The vast majority of this amount ($52.6 million) will go to the Australian Electoral Commission and other agencies so they can start preparing.

Potential home buyers

It’s a stressful time for anyone hoping to break into the property market, with growing cost-of-living pressures playing havoc with household savings. 

Even the treasurer acknowledged in his budget-night speech that for too many, “the great Australian dream of home ownership seems completely out of reach”.

But there is some relief for prospective home owners. 

The Help to Buy scheme — costed at $324.6 million over four years — will assist up to 40,000 eligible Australians on low to moderate incomes to purchase a home with an equity contribution from the government. 

This means a lower deposit and a smaller mortgage. 

The launch of the Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee this month will also come as welcome news to those hoping to buy outside the cities. 

Under the scheme, people who have lived in a regional location for more than a year will be supported to buy their first home in that location with a minimum 5 per cent deposit. 

Up to 10,000 places will be available each year to June 2026.

These measures are on top of the government’s “big and bold” goal of building 1 million new, well-located homes before the end of the decade. 

The “aspirational” target is part of a new national Housing Accord between governments, investors and industry. 

Regional and rural Australians

Aside from the Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee, the government has promised $61.8 million over six years to go towards funding local health projects in rural and regional Australia, with the goal of improving care and reducing pressure on emergency rooms.

This includes $28.7 million for a GP Access After Hours program in New South Wales’s Hunter region and $20.6 million to improve palliative care in northern Tasmania. 

A further $143.3 million is dedicated to ensuring healthcare access in regional, rural, and remote areas through workforce training, incentives, and trials for “innovative models of care”. 

There are also plans to spend big — $757.7 million over five years — on improving mobile and broadband connectivity in the regions.

This includes $400 million over five years to support the rollout of mobile base stations, $200 million over five years to fund the delivery of telecommunications infrastructure in regional, rural and remote Australia and $40 million over three years to improve mobile coverage and reception across Australia.


This year’s budget has an 85-page women’s budget statement focused on, well, women. 

Minister for Finance and Women Katy Gallagher says the entrenched problems of gender equality and violence against women are an important consideration in the budget.

“Clearly something has to change, and this budget statement makes the first step,” she says. 

The statement looks at three key interconnected themes: women’s economic equality, ending violence against women, and gender equality, health and wellbeing.

Senator Gallagher says the plan is to eventually not need a separate women’s budget statement.   

“The idea is that we would mainstream it into the budget papers and my hope is we won’t need a women’s budget statement and that we have it embedded in the way we present the overall budget,” she says.


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Source:, Published 26 Oct 2022.

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