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Australia
Federal Budget 2023 | Key policies at a glance
9 May 2023 | Minutes to read: 5

Federal Budget 2023 | Key policies at a glance

By William Buck

1. Cost of living

Energy bill relief

 The Government will work with Territory and State Governments to provide $3 billion of relief towards the cost of household electricity for eligible households and businesses.

Price caps and gas market reform

The Government will temporarily cap the price of gas on wholesale contracts, will work with the states to cap the price of coal used for energy production and will introduce a compulsory code of conduct for sales of gas.

Household Energy Upgrade Fund

The Government will invest in energy improvements for households via a $1.3 billion fund to pay for low-interest loans and to fund updates to social housing to improve energy use.

In partnership with private lenders, the Fund will inject $1 billion into the Clean Energy Finance Corporation which in turn will fund energy-saving home upgrades.

$300 million dollars will go towards energy performance upgrades to social housing.

Better information on energy saving opportunities

The Government will enhance the Nationwide House energy rating scheme by expanding it to existing homes, meaning households will be able to access a star rating of their energy performance to improve decision making with respect to energy consumption.

The Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards program will be updated and expanded to improve decision making.

 

2. Health & Medicare

Tripling bulk billing incentives

The Government will invest $3.5 billion over 5 years to incentivise medical practitioners to bulk bill and will increase the number of Medicare clinics.

Bulk billing incentives will be tripled for common medical consultations for Commonwealth concession card holders, pensioners and children under the age of 16.

More bulk billed clinics

$358.5 million will be invested for Medicare Urgent Care Clinics which is in addition to $235 million pledged as part of the October 2022 Budget measures.

Reducing the cost of medicines

The Government will support more than 300 Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme medicines to be dispensed in greater amounts commencing from 1 September 2023.

This will allow patients with stable, ongoing medical conditions to acquire more medications per doctors visit which would decrease the number of times they would be required to visit the chemist or doctor each year. The Government estimates this would save $1.6 billion in out-of-pocket costs over 4 years.

Support for pharmacies

The Government will commit $79.5 million over 4 years to double the Regional Pharmacy Maintenance Allowance in a view to provide assistance to pharmacies in regional and remote areas.

The Government will further provide $114.1 over 4 years to fund pharmacists to provide vaccines to those eligible under the National Immunisation Program.

New PBS Listings

The Government is providing $2.2 billion over 5 years for new and amended listings to the PBS

Reducing prevalence of vaping and smoking

The Government will spend $63.4 million for national public health campaigns, $141.2 towards the Tackling Indigenous Smoking program and $29.5 million towards other supports.

Taxes on tobacco will also increase by 5 per cent each year for 3 years from 1 September 2023.

Improved regulation and enforcement of e-cigarettes and vapes are to be introduced including controls on importation, contents and packaging.

3. Education & Training

Higher education

The Government will fund 300,000 TAFE and vocational education training places to become fee-free and deliver the second tranche of its commitment for 20,000 additional university places in 2023 and 2024.

Apprentices and trades

The Government is redesigning Australian Apprenticeship Support Services to improve apprenticeship career pathways and provide more support for completions.

The Government will also introduce the Australian Skills Guarantee. The Guarantee will set national targets for apprentices, plus specific targets for women apprentices and trainees on major Government-funded construction and ICT project, aiming to double the amount of women in apprenticeship and traineeship roles in construction projects.

Teachers

The Government is investing an additional $9.3 million (on top of $328 million previously announced) for the National Teacher Workforce Action Plan, designed to attract, train and retain people in the teaching profession.

Funding for First Nations students

The Government is providing the following funding targeted toward First Nations students:

  • $40.4 million to improve school attendance, engagement and learning outcomes for students in Central Australian schools;
  • $38.4 million to pilot community-led and culturally appropriate distance learning models in remote locations; and
  • $21.6 million to extend the Indigenous Boarding Providers grants program for one year.

Industry reform

The Australian Universities Accord has been established to undertake an extensive review of Australia’s higher education system.  It will provide recommendations to improve the sector.  Its interim report is due by June 2023, with a final report to be delivered by December 2023.

For primary and secondary schooling, the Government has also established an expert panel to provide advice on future reforms to inform the next National School Reform Agreement.

4. Opportunity & Gender Equality

Expanding eligibility for Parenting Payment (Single)

The Government will expand the Parenting Payment (Single) to primary carers, 91% of whom are women, until the youngest child turns 14.

Abolishing ParentsNext

The current pre-employment support program, ParentsNext, will be abolished from 1 July 2024 and be replaced with a new voluntary program.

Paid Parental Leave and early childhood education and care

Cheaper Child Care and Paid Parental Leave changes take effect from July 2023

From 10 July this year, families earning under $530,000 will receive an increased child care subsidy. For more information on the Cheaper Child Care changes, see here.

From 1 July this year, Parental Leave Pay and Dad and Partner Pay will combine into a single 20‑week payment. A new family income test of $350,000 per annum will see nearly 3,000 additional parents become eligible for the entitlement each year.  For Paid Parental Leave changes, see here.

Gender pay gap

From 2024, the Government will publish gender pay gap data of employers with 100 or more employees.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

The Government will invest $1.9 billion over 5 years from 2022‑23 to deliver sustained, practical actions to improve the lives and economic opportunities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including:

  • $150.5 million to strengthen educational outcomes and protect traditional knowledge
  • $193.5 million for strong economic participation programs
  • $561.6 million for better health programs
  • $410.4 million for critical investments in housing and infrastructure programs

5. Environment & Regional Australia

Renewable Energy Future

The Government’s total investment in Australia becoming a renewable energy superpower will be more than $40 billion.  Some programs announced in the Budget include:

  • Accelerating investment in renewable energy through the Capacity Investment Scheme, which will unlock over $10 billion of investment in our grid;
  • $2 billion Hydrogen Headstart will accelerate large‑scale renewable hydrogen projects. Hydrogen Headstart will bridge the commercial gap for early‑stage projects, and position Australia to be a world leading hydrogen producer and exporter.
  • $12 billion of the Government’s $20 billion investment in Rewiring the Nation to transformational transmission projects, including $1 billion in Tasmania’s Battery of the Nation projects $1.5 billion towards Renewable Energy Zones and offshore wind in Victoria and $4.7 billion to unlock critical transmission in New South Wales.

Household Energy Upgrades Fund

The $1.3 billion Household Energy Upgrades Fund will create low‑interest loans and fund upgrades to social housing to improve energy performance, including:

  • $1 billion into the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to unlock more than 110,000 low‑interest loans for energy‑saving home upgrades, in partnership with private lenders.
  • $300 million to partner with states and territories to make energy performance upgrades to social housing.

National Reconstruction Fund

The Government has committed $15 billion to the National Reconstruction Fund, one of the largest investments in manufacturing in Australia’s history.

Through loans, guarantees and equity investments, the National Reconstruction Fund will partner with the private sector to invest in priority areas that leverage Australia’s natural and competitive strengths in renewables and low emissions technologies, medical science, transport, value‑add in agriculture, forestry, and fisheries, value‑add in resources, defence capability and enabling capabilities.

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