2023/24 Federal Budget Wrap-Up

On Tuesday 9 May 2023, the Treasurer, the Hon Dr Jim Chalmers MP, handed down the latest Federal Budget. Read TasCOSS’s reaction and responses from across the community services industry.

While this Budget demonstrated the Government has heard the needs of Tasmanians on low incomes, its response to these needs falls well short of the Prime Minister’s core promise that ‘no one is left behind.’

It was disappointing to see that for Tasmanians living on the lowest of incomes, the Budget won’t change much, with the daily struggle to keep a roof over their head, food on the table, pay their rising bills, and afford medical care met with nominal relief.

Most disappointing was the Government’s paltry increase to JobSeeker ($2.86 a day), which we know is simply not enough and must be called out for what it is: hopelessly inadequate and instead of being a safety net actually traps people in poverty. 

Instead, the Government has chosen to give people who don’t need it a tax cut at a cost of $243 billion. If you can find money in a budget for high end tax cuts and a stadium, you can find money to make sure that people have the basics of life. 

Importantly, TasCOSS would like to reassure all Tasmanians struggling to afford the basics on these cruel payments that this isn’t the end, and we won’t stop fighting until these payments are raised to at least $76 a day.

There were some positive announcements in the Budget and we were pleased to see confirmation the Parenting Payment Single will be expanded to support single parents until their youngest child is 14. This measure will help the 6,250 single parents in receipt of the payment currently in Tasmania and the many more single parents who will now be eligible for the payment.

TasCOSS also welcomed the expansion of energy bill relief to 140,000 Tasmanian households, but without further action such as capping electricity price rises, this payment will be quickly eaten up by anticipated price increases from 1 July. 

With Tasmania recording the lowest rates of bulk-billing in the country, it is our hope the announcement of the tripling of the Medicare bulk-billing incentive will go some way to increasing access to GP services in Tasmania.

The substantial wage increase of 15% to aged care workers across Australia is also a positive step forward in recognising the essential services provided by the aged and community care workforce. We would like to see this recognition expanded to cover the broader community services workforce who are on the frontline of supporting those most in need. As such, the community services industry will continue the call for governments to provide fair and reasonable funding increases to allow our industry to continue to provide essential services and support to Tasmanians in need. 

Budgets are about choices and surely there is no fairer or more responsible choice than to ensure people have enough money to afford a roof over their heads, food on the table and access to health care. 

We’ve collated feedback and reactions to the Budget from the community services industry, which you can view at the following links:

If you’d like to get in touch with your response to the Budget or have any questions, please contact Stephen Durney, Acting Manager Policy, on (03) 6169 9508 or email Stephen.

More 2023/24 Federal Budget analysis and information: