Federal budget highlights: 2023-202410 May 2023 2 min read
There are serval announcements in this year’s federal Budget that will be positive for our members. Most notably, the focus on easing the cost of living, including Medicare bulk-billing incentives, energy relief and housing help. Superannuation was also addressed, including the frequency of super payments for employees. Other encouraging announcements include increases in Centrelink’s JobSeeker and a wage increase for aged care workers, which will better support women and older Australians. While there is still a way to go in reaching financial equity, the new initiatives are a step in the right direction.
Easing cost of living
Electricity bill relief
More than 5 million households are due to receive up to $500 off their electricity bill. The support will be directed at those who are most in need, including aged pensioners and welfare recipients.
From September this year, the Commonwealth Rent Assistance is due to rise by 15%, impacting around 1.1 million households.
Medicare bulk billing
Bulk billing incentives will be tripled for general practice consultations for children under 16 and concession card holders. The $3.5 billion allocation will benefit over 11 million Australians, covering many common GP consultations, including telehealth and videoconference.
Employers will have until July 2026 to start paying employees superannuation on payday instead of quarterly. The change, commonly referred to as ‘payday super’, will enable employees to keep better track of their super and have it compound for longer — therefore earning more on their super savings long-term.
A recent report by Industry Super Australia (ISA) found that in feminised industries like childcare, aged care, hospitality and personal services, about a quarter of female workers suffer super underpayments, costing them up to $40,000 from their retirement nest egg.1 For some women, this is the equivalent of almost 10% of their savings.2 As a result of the payday super change, the ISA has modelled that a 30-year-old earning the age-based median wage could be $8,000 better off at retirement if paid super fortnightly instead of quarterly because contributions would compound for longer if paid more frequently.3
Unpaid super targets
$27 million in the 2023-24 budget has been allocated for the Australian Tax Office (ATO) to improve data capabilities, including matching both employers and super fund data at scale.
The ATO will also receive $13.2 million to consult and co-design a new ATO compliance system.
Increase in Centrelink payments for older Aussies
Eligibility for the higher rate of payment will be extended to single Australians aged 55 to 59 who have been on Centrelink payments for 9 or more continuous months. This will benefit around 52,000 recipients, 55% of whom are women. The increase aims to support the growing number of vulnerable Australians at risk of homelessness. In the 2021 census, it was reported that there was an increase of 10%, from 2016, in homelessness amongst women.4
Advocacy group, Housing for Aged Care Group, estimates the number of women aged 55 and over at risk of homelessness is around 240,000 across the country.5 Homelessness can be a result of a variety of causes, including the gender pay gap, low superannuation savings and time out of the workforce to care for family.6
Pay increase for aged care workers
Nurses, personal care workers, cooks, recreational officers and home care workers will receive a 15% pay increase. The change is part of the $36 billion directed to aged care in 2023–24 and will benefit 250,000 workers — 85% of whom are women.7
What else came out of the 2023-2024 federal budget
- From July 2025, the concessional tax rate applied to future earnings for superannuation balances above $3 million will be 30%, up from 15%. This is expected to apply to around 80,000 people.
- From July 1, 2023, the minimum account-based pension (ABP) drawdown rates will revert to pre-COVID levels. The minimum drawdown percentages were reduced by 50% to assist retirees during COVID. Find out more about ABP rates on the ATO website
- Over 5 years from 2023–24, $5 million will be allocated to continue a superannuation consumer advocate with the aim of improving members’ outcomes.
- $55.31 billion will be allocated to childcare over the next 4 years, assisting families and making childcare more affordable.
- Small and medium-sized businesses that invest in equipment to cut their energy bills could be eligible for up to $20,000 in tax relief. The Small Business Energy Incentive will assist 3.8 million businesses around Australia.
- Greenwashing is being addressed. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has been allocated $4.3 million to continue greenwashing surveillance and enforcement work.