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In his Budget Speech Treasurer Jim Chalmers summarised the key elements of the 2024-25 Budget as:

“This Government and this Budget delivers for every Australian:

Policy decisions – Summary

Stage 3 tax cuts

The Government’s changes to the Stage 3 tax cuts are a key element of the Budget. They broaden the benefit of the original tax cuts, halving the tax break for wealthier taxpayers and increasing the benefit for those on lower incomes. The changes cut the bottom tax rate which applies to incomes below $45,000, from 19 per cent to 16 per cent. That will give a tax cut of up to $804 a year to all tax-filers, including those on higher incomes. At the same time Stage 3 tax cuts for higher earners are reduced. The result is that people with taxable incomes of less than about $146,486, or nearly 90 per cent of all tax-filers, will get either the same or a larger tax cut, whereas the 10 per cent with higher incomes will get smaller tax cuts than under the original Stage 3.

Cost of living 

The Budget’s key new cost-of-living measure is a new energy bill relief payment, extending existing energy relief measures. From 1 July 2024, the Budget provides rebates of $300 to every household and $325 to around one million small businesses. The Budget Papers say this “is expected to directly reduce headline inflation by around ½ a percentage point in 2024–25 and is not expected to add to broader inflationary pressures.”

There is also relief for renters by increasing maximum rates of Commonwealth Rent Assistance by an additional 10 per cent, at a cost of $1.9 billion over five years from 2023–24. This increase will support nearly one million households. The Budget also continues the freeze on social security deeming rates at their current levels for a further 12 months until 30 June 2025. This will benefit around 876,000 income support recipients, including around 450,000 Age Pensioners.Education 

Ahead of the Budget the Government announced changes to higher education funding, reducing the indexation of accumulated student contribution debts and backdating the new system to 2023. The Government estimates about $3 billion in indexation debt will be cancelled, helping about 3 million Australians. It also announced a new ‘Commonwealth Prac Payment’ which will provide a student payment of $319.50 a week for higher education student while on clinical and professional placements.

Future Made in Australia 

The Budget provides some more detail – though many will believe it remains vague – of the Government’s ‘Future Made in Australia’ plan.

Housing 

The Budget includes another $1 billion to help states and territories build more housing sooner, an additional $1.9 billion in loans to help build 40,000 social and affordable housing. The Treasurer said, “We are providing $1.9 billion to increase the maximum rates of Commonwealth Rent Assistance by a further 10 per cent.” This is in addition to a 15 per cent increase in the previous Budget. 

Budget outcome – Summary

Treasurer Jim Chalmers forecast a second successive surplus – of $9.3 billion – in Tuesday’s budget, and promised cost-of-living relief without fuelling inflation while trying to reshape the economy with its Future Made in Australia industry package. After producing a record $22.1 billion surplus in their first budget, Dr Chalmers and Finance Minister Katy Gallagher unveiled a $10.5 billion improvement in the budget bottom line from what they were forecasting in the mid-year Budget update and a $54 billion turnaround on what was expected at the 2022 election. But the surplus is expected to disappear in the coming financial year as a forecast fall in commodity prices, a softer jobs market and a slowdown in wages reduce tax receipts.

Economic growth and inflation forecasts – Summary

The Budget says economic growth is expected to remain subdued over the Budget forecast period. Real GDP is forecast to grow by 2 per cent in 2024–25, and 2¼ per cent in 2025–26.

Inflation is forecast to fall from 6.0 per cent in 2022-23, to 3 ½ per cent in 2023-24, 2 ¾ per cent in 2024-25 and 2025-26 and 3 ½ per cent the following two years.

A complete overview of the 2024 Federal Budget white paper can be found here.

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