The Institute’s Policy and Advocacy Team have examined the budget papers and summarised the budget initiatives that might be of interest to Institute members.
The Australian economy is forecast to experience a sustained period of strong economic growth, low unemployment, and rising wages growth. There are a range of risks that could affect that forecast.
GDP: An economic recovery is underway. GDP is expected to grow by 4¼ per cent in 2021-22, 3½ per cent in 2022-23 and 2½ per cent in 2023-24.
Unemployment rate: The unemployment rate reached 4.0 per cent and the participation rate reached 66.4 per cent in February 2022. It is expected that the unemployment rate will reach 3¾ per cent in the September quarter of 2022.
Wages growth: The strong labour market is expected to see wages growth accelerate. Average earnings per hour expected to increase by 5 per cent through the year to the June quarter of 2022. However, there is uncertainty around the pace at which wages growth will accelerate, given the unemployment rate is at a historically low level.
Inflation: Australia’s inflation is expected to moderate from 4¼ per cent in 2021-22 to 3 per cent in 2022-23 and 2¾ per cent in 2023-24. The current rate reflects higher global oil prices and ongoing supply chain pressures as well as price pressures in the housing construction sector. The fuel excise reduction is expected to reduce headline inflation by ¼ of a percentage
Economic growth: The reopening of international borders will see the return of migrants and international students, supporting growth in consumption and education exports and assisting in filling skill gaps.
Interest rates: Monetary policy is expected to begin to normalise from historically low levels in Australia, with the market pricing in a tightening cycle from mid2022 until 2024.
Supply chain: Elevated demand for goods has strained international supply chains and put upwards pressure on goods prices. At the same time, there has been a sustained period of near record global energy and agricultural prices.
There is a commitment to an additional $17.9 billion to infrastructure projects across Australia. This investment includes over $500.0 million for the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program, supporting local councils to maintain and deliver priority local road and community infrastructure projects across Australia. The details below include already announced projects.
Australian Capital Territory
$59.5 million for projects, including:
- $46.7 million for the Athllon Drive Duplication.
- $2.8 million for the Kent Street and Novar Street Intersection Upgrades.
- $8.0 million is being allocated for local road and community infrastructure projects in the territory.
$538.7 million for projects, including:
- $132.0 million for the Central Australian Tourism Roads.
- $124.0 million for the Outback Way.
- $14.5 million is being allocated for local road and community infrastructure projects in the territory.
New South Wales
$3.6 billion for projects, including:
- $1.0 billion for the Sydney to Newcastle – Tuggerah to Wyong Faster Rail Upgrade.
- $352.0 million for the Milton Ulladulla Bypass.
- $139.3 million is being allocated for local road and community infrastructure projects in the state.
$4.4 billion for projects, including:
- $1.6 billion for the Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast – Beerwah-Maroochydore Rail Extension.
- $1.1 billion for the Brisbane to the Gold Coast – Kuraby-Beenleigh Faster Rail Upgrade.
- $101.7 million is being allocated for local road and community infrastructure projects in the state.
$2.9 billion for projects, including:
- $2.3 billion for the North-South Corridor – Darlington to Anzac Highway.
- $200.0 million for the Marion Road – Anzac Highway to Cross Road project.
- $44.9 million is being allocated for local road and community infrastructure projects in the state.
$662.2 million for projects, including:
- $392.0 million for the Roads Package.
- $100.0 million for Great Drive Tourism Support Packages.
- $16.3 million is being for local road and community infrastructure projects.
$3.5 billion for projects, including:
- $1.5 billion for the Beveridge Interstate Freight Terminals and connecting roads.
- $920.0 million for the Outer Metropolitan Ring Rail South.
- $101.7 million is being allocated for local road and community infrastructure projects in the state.
$2.3 billion for projects, including:
- $441.2 million for METRONET rail projects.
- $400.0 million for the Outback Way.
- $73.0 million is being allocated for local road and community infrastructure projects in the state.
- Investments in small‑scale renewable energy (solar and wind) microgrids to support off-grid regional and remote communities ($84 million to support more than 60 projects).
- The Government looks to secure Australia’s future gas supply by supporting key projects identified in the National Gas Infrastructure Plan and will increase the supply of affordable gas to alleviate cost of living pressures for households and businesses.
- $170 million for threatened species and habitat restoration, and tree planting projects, including $53 million dedicated to koala recovery and conservation.
- $26.8 million for our national parks will improve conservation and management. It will also support Indigenous engagement and employment, enhancing preservation of cultural and natural heritage.
- $192 million investment in reforms to Australia’s environmental laws to protect the environment, speed-up environmental law decisions, and improve transparency in project approvals.
- $83.1 million for Australia’s waste and recycling capabilities to help reach the 2030 waste targets. This includes $60.4 million to develop new plastics recycling technology and advanced recycling solutions. $18.2 million will go towards improving awareness of correct recycling techniques and develop a new ‘ReMade in Australia’ scheme to certify goods that are recycled and remade here in Australia.
- A new $1.3 billion package to end violence against women and children. Includes more frontline services including, emergency accommodation. However, this does not provide longer term social housing solutions for longer term accommodation when women and children leave short term emergency accommodation in a hotel or purpose built refuge.
- Doubling the Home Guarantee Scheme to 50,000 places per year for:
- single parents to buy a home with a deposit as low as 2 per cent.
- first home buyers to buy a home with a deposit as low as 5 per cent.
- $2 billion support for affordable housing loans through the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation. This does not actually provide new public housing for the most vulnerable members of our communities.
- The Government will re-profile existing funding provided to Indigenous Business Australia for regional housing construction loans as part of the Indigenous Home Ownership Program, at a cost of $7.7 million over 5 years from 2021-22.
- National Housing and Homelessness funding for support services operations remains unchanged at a little over $1.6bi per annum for the years out to 2026.
- $5,000 payments to new apprentices and up to $15,000 in wage subsidies for employers who take them. There remains nothing for Architecture or other universities graduates.
- A $120 tax deduction for every hundred dollars a small business spends on training their employees. This may benefit members who support their employee’s professional development or CPD and we wait to see further details of the eligibility to make these deduction claims.
CITIES AND REGIONS
- Regional investment package that includes investments in agriculture, infrastructure and energy in the Hunter, the Pilbara, the Northern Territory and North and Central Queensland.
- Major new investments in water projects, a new regional accelerator, telecommunications and health.
- A new $7.4 billion investment in more dams and water projects to improve water security and expand irrigation.
- A new $2 billion regional accelerator program to invest in skills, education infrastructure, export market development and supply chain resilience for our regions.
- A new $1.3 billion telecommunications package to expand mobile coverage across 8,000km of regional transport routes.
- The Government will provide $680.6 million over 11 years from 2022-23 to support projects under the South East Queensland (SEQ) City Deals.
- Women’s Health & Wellbeing – $330.6m invested in programs for:
- Increasing awareness of cardiovascular disease in women.
- Enhanced bereavement support for families post stillbirth/miscarriage.
- Endometriosis & pelvic pain clinics and development of Endometriosis Management Plan.
- Breast and Cervical cancer screening.
- Violence against women and Children – $1.3b invested in programs for:
- Prevention (awareness, consent campaigns, upgrade online ‘respectful relationships’ platform).
- Early intervention (Coordinated Enforcement and support to Eliminate Domestic Violence Program trial, No to Violence’s National Perpetrator Intervention and Referral Service, trauma counselling service, Aboriginal family safety services, FDSV support fund, training for response training for police & first responders, Helping Children heal program).
- Response ($164.8m financial assistance payments, $4.7m lead discussions with states to enhance criminal justice system response to sexual assault, safe places emergency accommodation program, support victim-survivors to stay safe in homes & other programs).
- Recovery (family law dispute support (including victim witness protection), legal support for sexual assault victims, Court Network volunteer support, trauma-informed recovery services, establishment of women’s trauma recovery services).
- Creation of dedicated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Action Plan.
- Safe and Respectful workplaces – implement 42 of the 55 recommendations of the Respect@Work report.
- Gender Pay Gap – $18.5m WGEA funding, review of WGEA Act.
- Childcare & early childhood education support – 20 additional remote/regional services, nominal increase in funding.
- Flexible Paid Parental Leave – 20 weeks (can be co-shared between eligible parents).
- Education, employment and enterprise support:
- National careers institute partnership grants program.
- Mid-career checkpoint program.
- Launch into work program.
- Careers revive program.
- Supporting women in STEM.
- Expanding the Future Women’s Jobs Academy to provide mentoring support and skills training to help women to transition into management and leadership positions.
- A $5.6 million investment into a dedicated small business unit in the Fair Work Commission will provide tailored support to small businesses.