In the media

A budget full of headlines, devoid of substance

Media release, 15 May 2024

The Albanese Government’s third budget is full of great headlines but misses the opportunity to address at least some of Australia’s most fundamental economic and societal challenges.

Of small sugar hits – there were plenty: for almost every interest group. But ultimately almost all of the brave the systemic reform we must embrace as a nation simply was not there.

While the Government did deliver a surplus and finally unveil a plan for how we can rightfully take our place as a renewable energy superpower by opening our doors to the future, there was a disappointing lack of focus on electrification initiatives for households and business.

Australia is crying out for leadership and reform, and ultimately with this budget, the Government has missed the opportunity to address our housing, climate, intergenerational equity, and domestic violence crises.

The $300 energy rebate, which goes to every household whether you earn a million dollars a year or are surviving on JobSeeker makes for a great headline. But the truth is this $3.5 billion could have been better targeted or redirected towards supporting households to access cleaner, cheaper energy by finally getting the solar or batteries they need to no longer be reliant on expensive fossil fuel energy.

Substantial reform to Australia’s taxation regime, which is still overly reliant on personal income tax despite the revised stage 3 tax cuts, has been kicked down the road while the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax continues to generate less revenue than the beer excise. Meanwhile $44 billion of taxpayer funds will be spent on fossil fuel subsidies over the forward estimates.

The budget offers almost nothing for the environment, including much needed nature law reform and our threatened species. The establishment of the Environment Protection Australia and Environment Information Australia is welcome but remains underfunded.

While the government has listened to calls from the crossbench to address the burden of HECs debt, there is little to offer younger Australians hope they will have fairer access to more affordable housing. Reading the budget fine print, some of the $6.2 billion allocated to housing is simply repurposed funds, not new funding to tackle our housing crisis.

Ultimately, the Albanese Government appears to have delivered a budget that provides the Prime Minister with the option of an early election. This budget is clearly geared toward re-election rather than tackling the long-term reform our nation desperately needs.

See Kylea's Budget Night update to the North Sydney community here.

Download a pdf version of this media release here.

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