Australia
Federal Budget October 2022-23 | Key policies at a glance
25 October 2022 | Minutes to read: 6

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

By William Buck

Cost of living relief

Cheaper childcare

From July 2023, Child Care Subsidy rates will increase to 90% for eligible families earning less than $530,000. Families will continue to receive higher subsidy rates of up to 95% for any additional children in care aged 5 and under.

Paid parental leave

By 2026, families will be able to access up to 26 weeks of paid parental leave.

Cutting cost of medicine

From 1 January 2023, the Government will decrease the maximum co‑payment under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from $42.50 to $30 per script.

Getting wages moving again

The Fair Work Commission delivered a pay rise of $40 per week to the full-time minimum wage entitlement.

The Government also supported a pay rise for aged-care workers, and will provide funding to support any resulting increases to award wages decided by the Royal Commission.

Secure and well-paid jobs

The Government will be making changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 to limit the use of fixed-term contracts for ongoing roles, making job security an objective.

The Government will also make changes to the workplace relations systems to:

  • Support more businesses to reach agreements with their employees that improve pay outcomes;
  • Resolve disputes through arbitration; and
  • Provide better support to employees to recover unpaid wages more easily.

The Registered Organisations Commission and the Australian Building and Construction Commission will be abolished, with their functions picked up by the Fair Work Commission and the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Housing

Establishment of the Housing Australia Future Fund

The Housing Australia Future Fund is a $10 billion fund to pay for social and affordable housing projects. The Fund seeks to draw in investments from Governments and private investors.

The Fund will provide 20,000 new social housing dwellings, 4,000 of which will be allocated to at risk women and children, as well as 10,000 new affordable housing dwellings for frontline workers.

Public and Private Sector Housing Accord

The Federal Government is initiating a House Accord to bring together States, Territories, Local Governments and private sector construction industry stakeholders.

The target is one million new homes over 5 years from mid-2024.

The Accord also seeks to facilitate cost-effective superannuation and institutional investment in affordable housing.

Supporting more Australians into home ownership

A “Help to Buy” shared equity scheme will be established to assist homebuyers to purchase a new or existing home with an equity contribution from the Federal Government.

Eligible home buyers will need a minimum deposit of 2%, with an equity contribution from the Federal Government of up to a maximum of 40%  of the purchase price of a new home, and up to a maximum of 30% of the purchase price for an existing home.

A Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee will be introduced to expand home ownership in regional areas. From 1 October 2022, 10,000 places will be available each financial year to support regional first homebuyers to purchase new or existing homes with a deposit from 5%.

Planning for the future of Australia’s housing

The Federal Government will develop a National Housing and Homelessness Plan. The Plan will be developed in close consultation with the States and Territories, and will set out key reforms to facilitate home ownership, rental and housing for the homeless.

Modern economy

Skilled migration

The permanent Migration Program will be increased by 35,000 to 195,000 in 2022–23. More than 90% of new places will be for skilled migrants, and more than a quarter targeted to regional areas.

$42.2m will be allocated over two years from the 2022-23 year to increase visa processing capacity and raise awareness of opportunities for high-skilled migrants in Australia’s permanent Migration Program.

Student and secondary training visa holders will have their work restrictions relaxed until 30 June 2023. This will allow them to work additional hours in any sector, helping to address workforce shortages.

Investing in priority industries

The National Reconstruction Fund will be established to provide $15 billion of capital through loans, guarantees and equity to the private sector in 7 priority industries (resources, agriculture, forestry and fisheries, medical science, renewables and low emission technologies, defence capability, transport and enabling capabilities).

This will include identifying and investing in manufacturing technologies to help the transition to net zero emissions.

Startups

The Government will provide $15.4 million over 4 years from 2022–23 (and $2.8 million per year ongoing) to establish the Startup Year program to deliver income-contingent Higher Education Loan Program loans to up to 2,000 recent graduates, postgraduate and final year undergraduate students per year.

The Startup Year will support students’ participation in a one-year, business-focused accelerator program at an Australian higher education provider, which will encourage innovation and support Australia’s startup community.

Gender equality

Development of a National Strategy to Achieve Gender Equality guided by the new independent Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce and informed by broad consultation.

The Government will introduce public reporting of their gender pay gap to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency and prohibit pay secrecy clauses in employment contracts.

Education

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. The Government will fund 480,000 fee-free TAFE and community-based vocational education places over 4 years.

20,000 additional university places in areas of in-demand skills will be provided to students from low socio-economic backgrounds, regional and remote areas, students who are first-in-family to attend university, First Nations students and students with disability.

Budget repair

Cutting and redirecting spending

The Government aims to provide $28.5 billion in Budget improvements, by restraining spending during this period of high inflation.

The main items include cutting $3.6 billion in outsourcing expenses (to contractors, consultants, etc), changing spending priorities and aligning and redirecting some infrastructure investment.

Some of the money saved will be redirected to various programs, including those that are mentioned below.

Healthcare and COVID-19

A number of measures were announced to improve the health care sector, including:

  • $235 million for the roll out of urgent care clinics (thereby reducing the pressure on public hospitals)
  • Providing $750 million for the Strengthening Medicare Fund.
  • Grants (of up to $50,000) to assist GPs to enhance their digital health capability
  • Restoring the 50% loading on telehealth psychiatry services to regional and rural areas.
  • Providing $2.6 billion for the continued response to COVID-19

Disabilities, aged care and veterans

Increased funding will be provided to restore the disability safety net, by providing an additional $8.8 billion over the next four years.

For aged care, the government will provide $2.5 billion over four years to put nurses back into nursing homes, will establish a national registration scheme for aged care workers, and provide further funding and support to protect Australians in aged care from COVID-19.

A series of funding measures were also announced to support veterans, to speed up compensation claims, provide better access to services, and further practical support for veterans.

First Nations

Funding has been announced as a commitment to deliver the Uluru Statement from the Heart. This will include funding a referendum to provide a First Nations Voice in Parliament and the establishment of an independent Makarrata Commission (to supervise agreement-making and ‘truth-telling’ between governments and First Nations).

Further funding and programs are provided to deliver on a National Agreement on Closing the Gap, and fund socio-economic targets, such as housing, early childhood care and development.

Violence against women

The Government will deliver $1.7 billion to support women’s safety, including spending in a number of initiatives, increasing the number of frontline workers, providing for 10 days of paid domestic and family violence leave, and the implementation of a Respect@Work Report to end sexual harassment in the workplace.

Defense and foreign affairs

Further spending initiatives were announced to strengthen Australia’s partnership in the Pacific and Southeast Asian region and to secure borders. This will include programs to work with regional partners on defence, economic growth and labour mobility.

Integrity

The Government will establish a National Anti-Corruption Commission, to detect and investigate serious or systematic corruption at the Federal level.

Environment

Acting on climate change

The Government has legislated its pledge under the Paris Agreement to achieve an emissions reduction target of 43% by 2030, and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

It will also restore the Climate Change Authority and introduce an Annual Climate Change Statement to Parliament.

$20 billion of funding will be provided to Rewiring the Nation, modernising Australia’s energy infrastructure, and reducing Australia’s exposure to international energy prices.

An investment in the Community Batteries for Household Solar Program will provide community batteries for the storage of excess solar energy, assisting up to 100,000 households to reduce their power bills.

$500 million investment will be made in electric vehicle charging stations and hydrogen highways across key freight routes.

There is a $100 million commitment to the New Energy Apprenticeships and New Energy Skills programs to provide upskilling opportunities in the clean energy sector.

$102.5 million will be invested in our First Nations people and their communities to enable greater access to the benefits of Australia’s renewable energy transformation.

Protecting the environment – safeguarding wildlife, land and oceans

Investments to be made totaling $1.8 billion in initiatives to protect, restore and manage the natural environment.

A $1.2 billion investment in the Great Barrier Reef by 2030, intended to address gaps in the implementation of the ‘Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan’, and support additional reef protection and restoration activities.

A $224.5 million investment in slowing the rate of environmental and native species decline, along with implementing the Government’s ‘Threatened Species Action Plan 2022-2032’.

Further investment of $66.5 million will be made to support current, and to establish new, Indigenous Protected Areas in partnership with First Nations groups.

An investment of $302.1 million will be made in sustainable farming and land management practices to help reduce emissions, and build climate and disaster resilience.

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