politics

The 2021 Australian Federal Budget: Who are the real winners and losers?

All eyes were on Treasurer Josh Frydenberg tonight as he announced the 2021 Australian Federal Budget. 

With Australia clawing its way out of the devastating (and ongoing) COVID-19 pandemic, the Morrison Government were keen to provide confidence that the country will recover.

"Australia is coming back. In the face of a once-in-a-century pandemic the Australian spirit has shone through. Doctors and nurses on the front-line, teachers and students in the virtual classroom, businesses, big and small, keeping the economy moving. Team Australia at its best, a nation to be proud of."

Watch Treasurer Josh Frydenberg discuss women in the workforce. Post continues after video.


Video via ABC.

Frydenberg admitted that the treasury feared the worst for the Australian economy, predicting unemployment rates hitting a high of 15 per cent. However, in May 2021 unemployment is now at only 5.6 per cent - a statistic lower than when the government came into power.

"Early and decisive action saved lives and livelihoods. We closed our borders. The Prime Minister established the National Cabinet and unprecedented support is seeing the country through the biggest global economic shock since the Great Depression," Frydenberg celebrated. 

Here's everything you need to know about the 2021 Federal Budget, including who the winners and losers are with the proposed measures. 

The losers. 

Low and middle-income earners.

Despite being presented as a 'highlight', the tax cuts promised to low and middle-income earners fell short of what many had hoped for. 

"Low and middle-income earners will receive up to $1,080 for individuals," stated Frydenberg, "or $2,160 for couples". 

According to the treasurer, this dollar value is said to contribute to "more of their money in their pockets to spend across the economy creating jobs".

Those who rely on the NDIS for disability support. 

While the government have pitched "$13.2 billion over four years" to be dedicated to disability support, when the breakdown of that money was explained, it showed how thinly the dollars are spread across the 450,000 people currently relying on disability benefits. 

"Today 450,000 people are receiving disability support. In the last year alone, more than 100,000 people have joined the scheme. In this budget we will spend a further $13.2 billion over four years to meet the needs of Australians with a disability and as the scheme reaches maturity, our focus is on ensuring its sustainability and that it continues to deliver a high quality, essential service for those who need it."

However, Frydenberg did promise: "Under the Coalition, the NDIS will always be fully funded."

Australia's aging population.

Despite a royal commission into the state of aged care across Australia, tonight Frydenberg explained that the government will be committing to only an additional $10 per day per person in aged care facilities.

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"Tonight, we commit $17.7 billion in targeted and practical new funding to significantly improve the system. We will fund another 80,000 new home care packages bringing the total to $275 - 275,000 home care packages that will be available."

Beyond that, there will be a push for more hands on deck within the sector.

"We will increase the time nurses and carers are required to spend with residents. We will make an additional payment of $10 per resident per day to enhance the viability and sustainability of the residential aged care system. We will support over 33,000 new training places for personnel carers and a new."

Frydenberg also stated that a "new Indigenous workforce" would be established within the aged care sector - but no explaination of what that exactly means was offered during the speech. 

Sexual harassment survivors.

When discussing sexual harassment, Frydenberg plainly stated, "Mr Speaker, sexual harassment is unacceptable in any context." However, the government failed to commit any specific dollar value to protecting victims of sexual harassment in Australian workplaces. 

Instead, the treasurer simply said:

"When it occurs in the workplace, it denies women their dignity, as well as their personal and economic security. The government, in its response to the [email protected] report, is strengthening laws, guidance and standards to prevent and to address harassment."

Listen to this episode of No Filter, where Mia Freedman interviews Josh Frydenberg's rather busy year. Post continues after podcast.

The winners. 

The Australian economy.

Obviously, the Australian economy - much like most economies around the world - took a big beating this year. With COVID-19 affecting job security across the board, it was clear that bringing back jobs and keeping Australians in work was a focus of the Morrison Government.

"The COVID-19 recession will see our deficit reach  $161 billion this year falling to $57 billion in 2024-25. With more Australians back at work, this year's deficit is $52.7 billion lower than it was expected just over six months ago in last year's budget. Net debt will increase to $617.5 billion or 30 per cent of GDP this year and peak at $980.6 billion or 40.9% of GDP in June 2025."

Frydenberg was quick to point out that, "This is low by international standards. As a share of the economy, net debt is around half of that of the United Kingdom and the United States and less than a third of that in Japan".

At the close of the Budget announcement, Frydenberg ended on a strong note, stating that the economy would be making an immense comeback.

"The economy is coming back. Australia is coming back. And this budget will ensure we come back even stronger and ensure that we secure Australia's economic recovery."

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COVID-19.

While it seems odd to list COVID-19 as a 'winner' in this budget, it is an area that is being allocated a heck of a lot of money - particularly in the rollout of vaccinations across Australia. 

"In this Budget a further $1.9 billion is allocated for the rollout of vaccines," stated Frydenberg.

"Australians have already received over 2.5 million doses. This budget provides another $1.5 billion for COVID-related health services including for testing and tracing, respiratory clinics and telehealth. In total, the Morrison Government has committed $20 billion to the vaccine rollout and to strengthen our health system in the face of COVID-19."

First home buyers.

Much like last year's budget, the 2021 line-up is trying to help first home buyers make that tricky leap into the housing market. 

"Our $2 billion investment in affordable housing is bringing on more supply," shared Frydenberg. "Mr Speaker, in this budget, our housing measures go even further."

He continued on to say that they will be "helping another 10,000 first home buyers build a new home with a 5 per cent deposit," and showing further generosity to single parents by, "supporting 10,000 single parents to purchase a home with as low as a 2 per cent deposit".

Beyond that, the treasurer announced they would be, "Increasing the amount that can be released under the First Home Super Saver Scheme from $30,000 to $50,000".

Breweries. 

In an aim to support small businesses, Frydenberg announced, "we're also providing tax relief for around 1,000 small brewers and distillers across the nation". Cheers to that. 

Young and Indigenous people looking for work.

Following on from boosting jobs for the Australian economy, the Morrison Government showed support for both young and First Nations people to get into the job market via heavily funded training schemes and apprenticeships. 

"In this budget we double our commitment to the JobTrainer fund, supporting a total of more than 450,000 new training places to upskill job seekers and young people. At a cost of $2.7 billion we will create 170,000 new apprenticeships and traineeships. Building on the 100,000 new apprentices we have already helped into a job in the first stage of the program." 

There was additional focus on women in work.

"We will help more women break into non-traditional trades with training support for 5,000 places and we will provide 2,700 places in Indigenous girls academies to help them finish school and enter the workforce. And more STEM scholarships for women in partnership with industry. Tonight, we are also providing another 5,000 places in higher education short courses and better matching job seekers to jobs."

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Parents in need of childcare.

As the cost of childcare continues to be a cause of concern for Australian parents, the treasurer assured the nation in his Federal Budget announcement that further funds will be devoted to this issue. 

"In this budget we are making a further and targeted $1.7 billion investment in childcare. This will increase the affordability of childcare for low- and middle-income families."

In terms of how many families he believes this will assist, Frydenberg stated that: "250,000 families will be better off by an average of $2,200 a year - giving more parents, especially women, the choice to take on extra work."

Infastructure.

Frydenberg announced the government will invest a casual "$110 billion" into a new infrastructure program.

This includes developments such as the north-south corridor in South Australia, the Great Western Highway and Newcastle Airport in New South Wales, the new Melbourne intermodal terminal in Victoria. The Bruce Highway in Queensland, Metronet in Western Australia, highway upgrades in the Northern Territory, light rail stage 2A in the Australian Capital Territory and Midland Highway upgrades in Tasmania.

Those who suffer chronic migraines.

An area that wasn't expected to be touched upon in the Federal Budget was chronic migraines.

"Tonight, we announce the listing of Emgality [a migraine medication] to treat chronic migraines of costing $6,800 per year for treatment - it will now cost just $31.30 a script or $6.60 for concession card holders."

Endometriosis sufferers.

In news that around 11 per cent of women will be delighted to hear: endometriosis is a focus of the 2021 Federal Budget.

"The Government was also providing in this budget new funding for endometriosis, research into pre-term birth and genetic testing for pregnant women."

No explicit dollar value was assigned to this agenda, but the fact it's even being discussed is a huge win for women.

Mental health services.

Frydenberg plainly stated that there will be a "$2.3 billion commitment to mental health and suicide prevention".

This will be applied via, "more Headspace centres to support more young Australians. Expanding this model to those aged over 25 with a new head a to health national network of 40 centres. Increased funding for the treatment of people with eating disorders. Greater access to psychiatrists, psychologists and GPs through Medicare". 

Interestingly, an area of concern that was specifically called out was veteran care. 

"Universal care and access for people who have been discharged from hospital following a suicide attempt."

Domestic abuse survivors.

One woman is killed by a former or current partner every week in Australia, so the importance of this issue shouldn't be underestimated. Thankfully, it appears to be an area of focus for the Morrison Government.

"Mr Speaker, all Australians have the right to be safe. The reality is that for too many women this is not their experience. One in four women experience violence from a current or a former partner. This must stop and we must do all we can to end all forms of violence against women and children."

Here's the money that the government are committing to fixing the problem we wish Australia didn't have. 

"Government we have invested more than $1 billion to keep women and children safe and tonight we invest a further $1.1 billion in women's safety."

In terms of the rollout, that money will be invested in the following support systems:

  • Delivering more emergency accommodation. 
  • More legal assistance. 
  • More counselling. 
  • More financial support - including cash payments for those escaping abusive relationships. 
  • More targeted services for Indigenous, migrant and refugee women, and women with a disability. 
  • We will improve the family law system to better protect children, give victims of domestic violence greater access to justice, and reduce the time spent in court.

Feature Image: Getty + Mamamia.