Cost of living to childcare: what the federal budget means for you.

All eyes were on Treasurer Jim Chalmers and Finance Minister Katy Gallagher as they handed down the 2023 Australian federal budget on Tuesday night.

After securing last year's election, the Albanese Government said they were keen to provide the Australian public with confidence — particularly while we're in the thick of cost-of-living challenges

For the Treasurer, he acknowledged these are challenging waters to navigate.

Introducing the budget on Tuesday night, Chalmers referred to the "hard times" and said that the budget was "responsible, affordable, and prioritises those in need." 

Prior to the release of the budget, it was also announced that this is the first federal budget in 15 years with a projected surplus (of about $4 billion). 

The budget has benefited from higher commodity prices, lower unemployment, and sooner-than-expected real wage growth. 

However, the government is remaining cautious. Chalmers said he was confident Australia can dodge a recession, but the economy is likely to slow as higher interest rates make borrowing money more expensive.

Economics talk aside, the question that we're likely asking ourselves at this point is 'How will this budget impact me?'

To break it down, here are all the funding announcements and plans in the budget, from cost of living, to rental crisis support, and reforms to the health system.

But first, watch: 4 money hacks that don't cut out your daily cup of coffee! Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia. 

Cost of living.

Starting with the topic that's impacting the vast majority of us. 

Prior to budget night, it was announced that a $14.6 billion package for cost-of-living relief. 

Treasurer, Jim Chalmers, said that the package is designed to "take the edge off" cost-of-living pressures and that it will prioritise the people "doing it toughest". 

The package includes an energy rebate of up to $500 (depending on which state you are living in) for 5.5 million eligible households on government payments and one million small businesses.     

Rent assistance will also go up by 15 per cent, amounting to an extra $31 a fortnight. 


Medicare and health system reform: National cabinet has agreed to a $2.2 billion package in the budget that would introduce patient ID measures and expand after-hours care. Part of this funding will also be used to overhaul Medicare, boost the number of nurses and expand the roles of pharmacists and paramedics. 

Bulk billing: Chalmers announced a tripling of the bulk billing incentive to thunderous applause. The government has included a $3.5 billion spend to help GPs provide bulk billing. This will mean 11.6 million Australians can access free consultations.


Regulation on vapes: The government will spend $234 million on stronger regulations on e-cigarettes and vapes, banning recreational vaping. There will be wide crackdowns on prescription vapes being imported and prescription vapes will require pharmaceutical-style packaging. 

All single-use vapes will be banned. Changes will also include introducing minimum quality standards, such as restricting what flavours and colours are used, as well as the ingredients in vapes. The amount of nicotine concentrations in vapes will also be reduced. The regulation is being made to limit vaping among younger people.

Tobacco tax: The tax is being jacked up to bring in an extra $3.3 billion over the next four years. An average cigarette packet will eventually cost about $10 more, amid the 15.8 per cent hike. 

Parental leave.

Parents can currently access up to a total of 20 weeks of Parental Leave Pay from the government, but the government said it will increase this by a fortnight each year starting from July 2024 until it reaches a new maximum of 26 weeks in July 2026.

"This will benefit mums, it will benefit dads, it's good for children, and it will be a huge boost to the economy," Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth said.

JobSeeker changes.

The federal budget includes increases to the JobSeeker base rate, rent assistance, Austudy and Youth Allowance. JobSeeker will be increased by $40 a fortnight. There will also be extra support extended to people aged 55 years old and over, who Chalmers referred to as "some of the most vulnerable in our community". 



The plan is to make childcare more affordable, with an additional $9 billion committed to the sector, bringing the total spending on childcare to $55.3 billion over the next four years. 

The government will set aside $72.4 million across five years to support the training of early childhood educators and the care sector. More than 80,000 early childhood educators will benefit from the package, with a focus on regional and remote services, and Indigenous organisations.

Around 1.2 million families nationally will benefit from July. For the average family on about $120,000 with a child in care three days a week, the changes will cut costs by about $1,700 a year, Education Minister Jason Clare outlined.

Support for single parents. 

An expansion to the single parent payment is included in the budget, extending the payment to when a youngest child turns 14, instead of 8 years old. 

Aged care workers. 

Over 250,000 workers in the sector are set to get a 15 per cent increase in their wages, which will amount to an extra $7,000 annually, according to Aged Care Minister Anika Wells. 

It’s the biggest pay rise for registered nurses, cooks and home care workers, and follows a royal commission recommendation for aged care staff wages to be lifted.


From July 1, 2026, employers will need to pay super at the same time as wages and salary.

The changes will leave the average 25-year-old earner about $6000, or 1.5 per cent, better off in retirement because more frequent payments leave more time for compounding interest. Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the simple change was common sense.


"It will strengthen the system and will boost retirement incomes. The main reason for that is it will make it less likely that people will miss out on the super that they've earned and that they're entitled to."

Support for sexual assault survivors in the court system.

There is a $14.7 million commitment over four years to strengthen the way the system responds to sexual assault cases. $6.5 million will go towards streamlining sexual assault and consent laws around the nation.

An Australian Law Reform Commission inquiry into justice responses to sexual violence will focus on strengthening laws and examining the experiences of victim-survivors going through the legal system. 

The government will also host a ministerial roundtable on addressing sexual violence and will enlist an expert advisory group to support the inquiry.

Australian Defence Force.

ADF personnel will receive $50,000 cash bonus. There will be $400 million for retention bonuses. Permanent ADF members will be eligible to receive a $50,000 bonus payment near the end of their initial mandatory period of service if they commit to the military for another three years. 

The bonus will not be tax free and there will be a pro-rata clawback for members who leave early. A $2 million review of defence housing will take place to help improve home ownership rates among serving personnel.


Emergency responses.

Emergency warning and alert systems will be upgraded to improve communication during natural disasters.

A new national messaging system will be able to send warnings to the mobile phones of people near emergencies in real time. Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said the system would allow emergency crews to send out alerts that aren't reliant on text messages, which could suffer delays during events such as bushfires.

The system is not expected to be in action until the end of 2024, and communication catered towards multicultural communities is also a priority. Emergency crews are also being bolstered, with $10.1 million to set up a public safety mobile broadband task force.

Small business owners.

Small and medium-size businesses that invest in energy efficient equipment will be eligible for a tax deduction of up to $20,000. 

The treasurer announced the Small Business Energy Incentive to help businesses manage the costs of cutting their energy consumption. The maximum bonus tax deduction is $20,000 per business, and will cost $314m over the next four years.


Besides some larger structural investment, such as $2 billion to make Australia a "world leader in producing and exporting hydrogen power", the government has also announced a $1 billion spend in "low-cost loans for double-glazing, solar panels, and other improvements that will make homes easier – and cheaper – to keep cool in summer and warm in winter". 

Feature Image: Getty/Mamamia. 

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