Australia
Federal Budget March 2022-23 | Key policies at a glance
29 March 2022 | Minutes to read: 5

Federal Budget March 2022-23 | Key policies at a glance

By William Buck

The 2022/23 Federal Budget has a focus on short term cost of living pressures as well as longer term infrastructure.  There is significant spending on health measures, and policies targeted at the regions and on women’s safety.

Cost of Living

Low and Middle Income Tax Offset and one-off Cost of Living Tax Offset

Individuals eligible for the Low and Middle Income Tax Offset (LMITO) will also receive an additional one-off $420 Cost of Living Tax Offset in the 2021-22 income year in addition to the LMITO. Eligible individuals will receive a combined tax offset up to $1,500.

Temporary Fuel Excise Relief

The excise on petrol and diesel will be temporarily halved from 44.2 cents per litre to 22.1 cents per litre for the next 6 months to 28 September 2022.

One-off Cost of Living Payment

A one-off income tax-exempt payment of $250 will be made to eligible pensioners, welfare recipients, veterans and eligible concession card holders in April 2022 to assist with increased cost of living.

Home Ownership

The Government has announced an expansion of the Home Guarantee Scheme to 50,000 places per year for the next three years starting from the 2022-23 income year. On an annual basis, this will be allocated to 35,000 First Home Guarantees, 5,000 Family Home Guarantees and 10,000 Regional Home Guarantees.

Also, the maximum amount of voluntary contributions that can be released under the First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSSS) will be increased from $30,000 to $50,000 from 1 July 2022.

Safer & Cleaner Australia

Recovery from natural disasters

Flooding in New South Wales and Queensland impacted households, businesses, primary producers, not-for-profit organisations and local councils.  The Government expects to spend more than $6 billion on disaster relief and recovery in response to the floods, including spending to date, on clean up, income support, repairs and replacement of machinery and infrastructure.

Protecting our environment

The Government is investing an additional $1 billion in the protection of the Great Barrier Reef. The investment will include funding to improve the water quality of the Great Barrier Reef, targeted activities to improve the sustainable management and protection of reef ecosystems, and investment to support Traditional Owner and community-led projects.

$170 million will be invested for threatened species and habitat restorations, including an investment of $53 million towards Koala conservation and protection.

A further investment of $839.9 million will be made to strengthen Australia’s capabilities and presence in Antarctica.

The Government is investing $192 million in reforms to protect the environment and speed up environmental law decision making.  There is also $83.1 million to support the transformation of Australia’s waste and recycling sector. The funding includes investment in Australia’s plastic recycling capabilities, and the development of a ‘ReMade in Australia’ brand and certification scheme to support Australians to buy quality, locally-recycled products.

Increasing access to environmental data

The Government is investing $1.2 billion to develop Australian-made satellites and enhance Australia’s space capability, which will support more reliable weather forecasting and will help farmers better manage land and water resources.

Investment in national security

Defence force funding as a share of the Australian economy will exceed 2% in 2021‑22.  This funding is intended to:

  • boost the Defence workforce (across Army, Navy and Airforce);
  • build future naval infrastructure;
  • fund the purchase of new tanks and armoured vehicles;
  • establish a national convicted terrorist register to monitor offenders’ movements;
  • enhance the powers and capabilities to combat cyber criminals; and
  • build a secure online world for Australians.

Health, Aged Care & Education

Preparing for winter

The Government is investing $6 billion in its COVID‑19 health response to support preparations for winter (this supports COVID-19, influenza and other respiratory diseases), and to support Australia in dealing with any new variants.  Funding is committed to vaccines, testing, vulnerable populations, health supply chains and public communication.

Mental Health

A new National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Agreement will be implemented to support Australia’s mental health. In 2022-23, the Government will invest $547 million in mental health services for young Australians, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and people of colour.

Medicare

Funding will be committed to increase the range of services included under the Medicare system.  This includes services for the diagnosis of cancer, genetic testing and to support pregnant women’s health.

Pharmaceuticals Benefits Scheme (PBS)

From 1 July 2022, the Government will reduce the PBS Safety Net thresholds, resulting in an increase in the accessibility and affordability of medicines.  Additionally, $2.4 billion will be invested over four years to increase and amend the listings on the PBS to include treatments for cystic fibrosis, spinal muscular atrophy and bowel cancer.

Aged Care

The Government will invest $29.8 billion in the aged care sector, including $468.3 million in funding for the Government’s response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

Disability Support

Through the NDIS $33.9 billion will be provided to over 500,000 individuals with permanent and significant disability in 2022‑23, growing to $44.6 billion in four years.

Education

The Government’s recurrent annual funding for schools will increase to $25.3 billion in 2022. The Government is investing an additional $225.8 million to improve educational outcomes of school students, particularly for those who are disadvantaged.

All preschool age children will be supported to access at least 15 hours a week of quality learning, as part of the Government’s $2 billion Preschool Reform Agreement.

 $79.6 million will be invested in the Sporting Schools program over the next three years.

Infrastructure & Regional Australia

Water security & infrastructure

The Government is investing a further $7.4 billion in the National Water Grid Fund to improve and develop critical water infrastructure across the country. This funding will support the agricultural sector, particularly improving water security, building drought resilience and opening up new land for irrigation.

Transformational infrastructure

The Government is investing $7.1 billion to facilitate transformation in four key export growth regions – the Northern Territory, North and Central Queensland, the Pilbara (WA) and the Hunter (NSW). The funding will target the development of ports, dams, roads and low emission manufacturing hubs in these regions.

The Government will also continue its investment in Northern Australia through providing an additional $2 billion to the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, aiming to drive economic growth and promote Indigenous employment in the region.

Transport infrastructure

The Government is committing an additional $17.9 billion to supporting transport infrastructure projects across Australia, including:

  • $3.1 billion for the Melbourne Intermodal Terminals to help meet the freight needs of the nation;
  • $2.7 billion for the Faster Rail projects in Queensland;
  • $2.3 billion for the North-South Corridor in South Australia; and
  • $441.2 million for the METRONET in Western Australia.

Regional Accelerator Program

The Government is investing $2 billion in the Regional Accelerator program, aimed at creating jobs in regional areas by investing in infrastructure, advanced manufacturing, apprenticeships, and higher education.

Improving telecommunications

The Government is investing $1.3 billion in improving telecommunications in the regions.

An investment of $480 million in servicing and upgrades to the NBN Fixed Wireless and Satellite networks will improve internet connectivity for up to one million regional households and businesses. Meanwhile, a further $811.8 million investment through the new Connecting Regional Australia initiative will target mobile coverage blackspots in regional areas and improve the resilience of Australia’s telecommunications infrastructure against natural disasters.

Women

Improving women’s safety

The Government is investing $1.3 billion towards ending violence against women and children. The investment will support the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032.

The funding is based on the four pillars of the Plan, being, prevention, early intervention, response and recovery.

Investing in women’s health and wellbeing

The Government is investing $330.6 million into women’s health and wellbeing. Specifically, an investment will be made into the key pillars of the National Women’s Health Strategy 2020-2030.

Key investments will include funding to support women with endometriosis and pelvic pain, and the National Stillbirth Action and Implementation Plan.

Boosting women’s economic security

The Government is investing $482 million in women’s economic security measures.

The measures include increasing the flexibility and choice for women and families to manage work and care, supporting women’s workforce participation in more diverse jobs and creating new leadership pathways for women. A key investment will be the establishment of Enhanced Paid Parental Leave for Families, with eligible working parents able to share up to 20 weeks of fully flexible entitlements.

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