5 Key Takeaways From The 2024 Budget

A copy of the 2024/25 Budget paper is seen inside the Budget lockup at Parliament House in Canberra, Tuesday, May 14, 2024. Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers will today hand down the 2024/25 Federal Budget. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) NO ARCHIVING
AAP Image/Lukas Coch


The Australia Institute’s analysis of the 2024 Federal Budget finds that while there some big numbers and good measures, there’s no meaningful solutions to issues such as inequality, housing or climate change.

1/ Credit where credit’s due

The Albanese Government will rightly claim they have delivered the promised cost-of-living relief in this year’s Budget. The headline figures of the $300 energy bill rebate, and the 10% increase to the maximum rate of rent assistance will complement the “centrepiece” of the modified stage 3 tax cuts, all welcome policies, providing much-needed relief.

But for Australians concerned about the future of our planet, and for those feeling the cost-of-living squeeze, they’ll no doubt be left feeling that more could have been done.


2/ Opportunities missed to address inequality

Unfortunately, this Budget fails to address the worsening inequality in Australia.

The increase in rent assistance will offer some support, but given the depth of the housing crisis we’re experiencing, it’s not going to help most people. There were no changes to the capital gains tax discount, or negative gearing, two policies that overwhelmingly benefit the rich and destroy housing affordability.

Changes to the Stage 3 tax cuts will deliver much fairer returns to people, but they’re not going to substantively address the cost of living crisis, and the highest income earners will get the biggest tax cuts – while the Jobseeker payment hasn’t increased.

As Richard explains, if you want to reduce inequality, you got to give more to those at the bottom and take more from those at the top. This budget doesn’t do that.

3/ It’s a dirty budget

At its heart, this is a dirty budget.

The Future Gas Strategy confirms that the government will continue supporting gas beyond 2050, and the budget continues to focus on fossil fuel dependency.

Fuel tax credits have now passed $10 billion, and the budget papers show that the government is expecting fossil fuel use to increase.

As Matt Grudnoff says: “as far as the government is concerned, they want to lose weight, so they’re eating more junk food. They want to quit smoking, so they’re smoking more cigarettes, and the government thinks that the way to reduce greenhouse gases is to burn more fossil fuels.”

4/ The PRRT is still failing to deliver

Which brings us to the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax, one of the biggest missed opportunities in the budget.

While the gas industry is making monster profits, it’s going to be paying less PRRT. In fact, the government has downgraded the amount they expect to collect from the gas industry by over 3 billion dollars.

This means that the PRRT is so woeful that this financial year, more tax is going to be paid by people who bought luxury cars than by the extremely profitable gas industry in the PRRT.

As we’ve seen, beer drinkers, spirits drinkers and even people purchasing visas to go overseas are paying more than the gas companies pay on PRRT.

Australia Institute research has shown that even modest changes to the PRRT could raise $18 billion over the next four years.

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to add your name to the almost 17,000 others calling for the government to fix the PRRT.

5/ Inflation is the focus

Contrary to a lot of the recent commentary, Australia Institute research shows that inflation is trending down in Australia, and the 2024 budget looks set to continue that.

Some of the main measures in the budget – including the $300 energy rebate and the 10% increase to Commonwealth rent assistance will work to reduce inflation because they’re targeted to major household costs.

Rather than increasing inflation, as Greg Jericho says, “it’s actually just helping people who have been absolutely smashed over the past couple of years.”

With the economy slowing, Matt Grudnoff suggests we’re more likely to be talking about stimulus next, rather than inflation.

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