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Budget 2024: What’s in it for you

Federal budget: Cost-of-living measures explained

Source: TND

Treasurer Jim Chalmers has handed down the 2024-25 budget, touting cost-of-living relief while also hoping to ease inflation.

So, what’s in it for you?

Energy bill relief

Every Australian household and eligible small businesses will receive a $300 energy rebate from July under a $3.48 billion plan.

The move is an extension and expansion of the energy bill relief fund that was unveiled in last year’s budget, Chalmers said.

“Keeping the lights on for families and businesses, and putting downward pressure on inflation,” Chalmers said of the policy.

It has been designed to counter high electricity bills in 2024-25.

Boost in rent assistance

Recipients of Commonwealth Rent Assistance will benefit from a 10 per cent increase (an average of $19 a fortnight) in maximum subsidy rates from September 20.

This program is available to millions of Australians who already receive income support from the federal government, including aged pensioners, JobSeeker recipients, and those receiving disability support pensions.

The policy will cost the budget $1.9 billion over five years from 2023-24 and $500 million a year ongoing from 2028-29.

Cheaper medicines

The budget has allocated $310 million over five years and $166 million in 2028-29 to cap the costs of medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Prices for medicines under the program will be frozen for the next five years for concession card holders, while co-payments on PBS prescriptions will also be frozen for the next year for all Australians with a Medicare card.

A further $3.4 billion is being spent over five years from 2023-24 to expand listings under the PBS, including new drugs to treat Covid-19 and kidney disease.

Tax cuts

As previously flagged, the budget allocates billions to reducing income tax rates, with every Australian to save $36 per week on average under the plan, detailed in the below graphic.

Students and graduates

The government is reforming indexation of HECS-HELP loans to either the lower of the Consumer Price Index or the Wage Price Index.

It will cost $239.7 million over five years from 2023-24 and is expected to reduce pressure on higher education students and graduates trying to pay down their student loans.

Additionally, the government has decided to apply the changes retrospectively from June 1, 2023, which will reduce outstanding loan amounts owed to the Commonwealth by about $3 billion.

Tradies

The budget extends the instant asset write-off that has allowed many tradespeople to write down utes and other vehicles for another year until June 30, 2025.

Small businesses with turnover under $10 million a year are eligible to immediately deduct the full cost of an eligible asset (worth less than $20,000), costing $239 million from 2023-24.

Superannuation

The budget allocates $1.1 billion in funding over four years from 2024-25 to add super to Commonwealth-funded paid parental leave.

Eligible parents will receive additional payments based on the 12 per cent superannuation guarantee.

A further $10 million has been set aside to help small businesses administer the changes.

The government has also “recalibrated” the Fair Entitlements Guarantee Recovery Program to chase super entitlements owed by employers in liquidation or bankruptcy.

Additionally, the government will provide $187 million over four years from July 1 to the Australian Taxation Office to “strengthen its ability to detect, prevent and mitigate” superannuation fraud.

Combatting domestic violence

The budget contains almost $1 billion in funding for payments that will help women flee violent relationships.

Payments of $5000 will be available, while another $1 billion has been set aside to fund transition and crisis accomodation for women and children fleeing domestic violence.

Passports

The government will earn $27.4 million over five years from 2023-24 with a scheme to fast-track passport processing from July 1.

This will allow some applications to be processed within five business days for an additional fee of $100, amid concerns about a backlog preventing travellers from heading overseas promptly.

Students in nursing and teaching

The budget includes funding for students who are doing their practical training in teaching, nursing, midwifery and social work, worth $319 per week.

It’s designed to help students cover living costs while completing their qualifications. About 68,000 students nationwide are expected to benefit.

The measure will cost the budget $427 million over four years from 2024-25 and an additional $1.2 billion from 2028-29 to 2034-35.

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