On Tuesday evening 9 May 2023 the Hon Dr Jim Chalmers Federal Treasurer delivered the 2023/24 budget that he stated targeted the cost of living. Highlighting power bills, medical costs, welfare support, and wage rises.

This snapshot is provided to Jobs Australia Members as an initial acknowledgment of the announcements. Over the coming days and weeks, further analysis and detail will be provided to Members. 

The $11.3 billion to fund the 15% wage increase to aged care workers and the $6.1 billion increase in Medicare funding were the biggest ticket items. The tripling of the Medicare bulk-billing incentive should see a return to bulk-billing for Health Care Card holders.

One announcement that went largely unnoticed, but which could have significant positive impacts on Members funding, is a change to the way annual indexation is applied to programs. The government announced a revised methodology “that is more closely aligned with current conditions”. In practice, this should see the end of a 1% indexation when inflation, wages, and costs are increasing at 6% plus.

Budget Snapshot 
Budget surplus of $4.2 billion in 2022/23
Deficits of $13.9 billion in 2023/24
Commonwealth net debt rising to $574.9 billion (22.3 per cent of GDP) in 2023/24
Economic growth to fall to 1.5 percent in 2023/24
Unemployment rate of 4.25 percent in 2023/24, rising to 4.5 percent in 2024/25
Inflation as measured by CPI to be 3.25 percent in 2023/24
Wages to rise by 4 percent in 2023/24

Energy bill relief of up to $500 for five million households and up to $650 for one million small businesses
170,000 households save on energy bills by financing energy-saving home upgrades
Reducing out-of-pocket health costs by tripling bulk billing incentives
Cutting the cost of medicine by up to half for at least six million people
Supporting 57,000 single parents by expanding eligibility for Parenting Payment (single)
Increasing the base rate for JobSeeker and other payments by $40 a fortnight for 1.1 million people
Increasing Commonwealth Rent Assistance for 1.1 million households

$57M over 4 years from 2023/24 to support the evolution of the supported employment sector following the FWC decision on the Supported Employment Services Award and other changes. Including $41M through to 2025/26 for 160 supported employment organisations to apply for grants to assist in upskilling supported employees, building the capacity of their support workforce or implementing innovative business models

$5.7 billion over five years to strengthen Medicare
15 per cent pay rise on award wages for aged care workers
$358.5 million over 5 years Medicare Urgent Care Clinics
Digital health system upgrade
$26.9 million over 2 years New Centre for Disease Control
$11.3 billion for aged care workforce pay rise:
$11.3b to deliver 15% pay increase
$487m to extend disability support for older Australians
$98.7m for provider viability support
$12.9m to strengthen nutrition for aged care residents

$586.9 million for mental health:
$136m humanitarian and CALD (over 4 years)

$737 million in smoking and vaping cessation:
$263.8m lung cancer screening (over 4 years)
$141.2m tackling Indigenous smoking (over 4 years)
$29.5m support smoking and vaping cessation (over 4 years)
$1.1 billion health prevention and protection:
$738.6m health protection
$378.8m preventive health
$23.6m sport

$818.5 million First Nations health:
$561.6 million for health programs including cancer and anti-smoking
$8.2 million Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations capability and capacity growth
$17.1 million over 4 years to increase uptake of First Nations Peoples’ Health Checks and National Rollout of Deadly Choices
$10.5 million in mental health support in the lead-up to, during, and following the Referendum

$6.1 billion strengthening Medicare:
$3.5 billion for bulk billing – tripling incentives for the most common consultations
$1.6 billion saved by patients on cheaper medicines
$1.5 billion indexation boost to Medicare rebates

Cheaper childcare for 1.2 million families
More flexible paid parental leave scheme
Extra $589.3 million for women’s safety
Targets for women apprentices on government projects

$250.3 billion in total for 2023/24
$4.9 billion over five years for extra JobSeeker support
Pay rise of 15 percent for sector workers
Extra work hours for international students in the sector
$166.8 million for an additional 9500 home care packages
Funding for better regulation to lift care standards
$487 million for a disability support program for older Australians
ParentsNext current program to conclude the end of June 2024 to be replaced by a voluntary program from 1/7/24

Extra $79.5 million support for regional pharmacies
$400 million for regional clean energy industries
$1 billion extra for pest and disease controls
$200 million for disaster support such as levee upgrades and bushfire reduction projects
$5.6 million over 5 years from 2022/23 to support the continuity of employment services in the Broome employment region and ensure future services are responsive to the needs of the local communit

Tax breaks to ensure more investment in build-to-rent projects
$7.5 billion in National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (up $2 billion)
Expanding eligibility criteria of the Home Guarantee Scheme
$410.4 million for Indigenous housing

$194 million for a dedicated Indigenous action plan to end family violence
$150.5 million for Indigenous education programs
$364.6 to fund the Indigenous Voice Referendum

Set up Environment Protection Australia and Environment Information Australia agencies
$741.3 million over five years for natural heritage projects
$355.1 million over four years for national parks and marine reserves

$732.9 million to improve systems and fight fraud
Annual growth target on the spending of no more than eight percent
$429.5M over 4 years from 2023/24 to invest in NDIA capability
$73.4M over 4 years from 2023/24 to better support participants to manage their plans within budget
$56.4M over 4 years from 2023/24 to strengthen independent living decisions, including by introducing a home and living panel
Allow longer plans where appropriate

300,000 new fee-free VET places from 1/7/24
$72.4 million for skilling early childhood workers
20,000 extra university places in 2023 and 2024
SEE and Foundation Skills for Your Future eligibility expanded to include those not registered as a jobseeker