Federal Budget 2024: Top five things you need to know about Treasurer Jim Chalmers’ Budget

Adrian Lowe
The Nightly
2 Min Read
In tonight’s show, Ben Harvey reveals the one page of the Federal Budget Jim Chalmers doesn’t want you to see, decoding the bottom line and explaining why high-fiving tax cuts is a ploy to gloss over Australia’s debt.

1. Cost-of-living relief

Heading into an election year, the Government is pinning electoral and economic hopes on its tax cuts, $300 power bill relief, extending a freeze on medicine price rises and upping Commonwealth rent assistance by another 10 per cent.

2. Economic outlook

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Those cost-of-living measures are Treasurer Jim Chalmers’ main ingredients to pushing inflation down faster than the Reserve Bank of Australia had forecast just last week. But gross debt is expected to peak at 33.9 per cent of GDP by the middle of next year and household consumption looks dire.

3. The future

A centrepiece of the Budget, the $22.7b Future Made in Australia strategy guides the Government’s thinking on everything from subsidies and investments to education and vocational training. If it comes off as planned, it will keep Australia globally competitive and generate thousands of jobs.

4. Housing and migration

With rents surging and demand for housing at an all-time high, the Government is handing out a further 10 per cent increase in Commonwealth Rent Assistance, funding 40,000 new social and affordable homes at $1.9b. But universities have also been told they need to build more for students – and overseas migration will be halved from 2022-23 levels by next financial year, to 260,000.

5. Education

More than three million people will have about $3b in collective HELP debt wiped as the Government overhauls indexation, which had pushed bills much higher as inflation surged. Under the new scheme, indexation will be capped (and back-dated to mid-2023) at whichever is lowest of the consumer price index or the wages price index. The Government has also unveiled a new target of having eight in 10 workers with a tertiary degree by 2050.

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