• Cheek

Our Budget 2021 Summary

Updated: Jun 14

WOMEN

  • $1.1 billion for women’s safety, including DV services, specifically a new scheme providing up to $5000 for women experiencing DFV

  • It’s been noted that the women’s health budget is equal to ⅗ of the money they put in to redevelop a war memorial, announced in February

  • $47m for perinatal and postnatal anxiety and depression services

  • The government has announced a $1.7bn package for increased childcare subsidies, which focus on low- and middle-income families with more than one child (why is this a women’s issue)

What are critics saying?

Australian Unions notes that $1.1 billion for women’s safety equates to $20 per year for each woman and girl in Australia. Critics of the budget question why child care was filed under the ‘women’s’ section, saying it should be an issue that affects parents more generally, and should not be gendered. It is widely agreed upon that spending on women was an attempt at gaining good publicity from the Liberal and National Parties after the abysmal reaction to accusations of sexual violence and misogynistic culture in parliament.


CLIMATE

  • $1.2 billion towards low emissions tech

  • No funding for renewables except $30 million for battery and microgrid project in NT

  • $486.3 million in new environmental funding for oceans, biodiversity, recycling and waste, and climate resilience

  • $1.2bn over five years to improve Australia's capability to prepare for, respond to and recover from natural disasters, including the establishment of a National Recovery and Resilience Agency

What critics are saying

The Climate Council says that the government’s failure to fund a clean recovery from the pandemic is a ‘national shame’. Leading climate experts say that we should be spending around $20-$40 billion per year to aggressively decarbonise. The budget falls significantly short of this.


REFUGEES

  • The government spent $1.279 billion on onshore detention and compliance for people seeking asylum this year

  • Funding for people seeking asylum who are assisted financially under the Status Resolution Support Service (SRSS) Program will decrease slightly from a total of $35.1 million this year to an estimated $33.3 million next year.

  • allocated $811.8 million to offshore management for the next year. There are currently 239 people remaining offshore, with 109 people on Nauru and 130 in PNG

  • The government will spend $7.7 million over two years to continue the Airline Liaison Officer Program to disrupt international travel to Australia. Airline liaison officers are used, among other things, to spot any passengers who they think might claim asylum and prevent them from boarding.

  • Student visa holders will be allowed to work more than 40 hours per fortnight, temporarily, if they are employed in the tourism or hospitality sectors.

  • This year saw a reduction of $57.9 million in settlement services due to border closures and settlement funding tied to arrivals -an additional $102.4 million allocated to settlement services

  • Migrants forced to wait 4 years before being eligible to access welfare

What critics are saying

Critics note the contrast of $51.7 million in positive mental health, social inclusion/health access initiatives for CALD/refugee communities, however, $1.135 billion is planned for expanding detention & punishing 45,000 Australian families.


INDIGENOUS ISSUES

  • $79m for a renewed National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention strategy, which will feature local suicide prevention services in regional Australia that are culturally sensitive, as well as aftercare and 24/7 crisis support services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

  • $532m over three years for housing for Indigenous Australians in remote communities, particularly in the Northern Territory.

  • $63.5 million allocated to the retention of Indigenous girls until Year 12

What critics are saying

First Nations-led educator Hayley McQuire Tweeted “$63.5 million dollars going to Indigenous girls academies to increase girls year 12 retention. $63.5 MILLION? How about we invest in a First Nations-led education system, fund Blak Educators - rather than add on programs that don't address systemic issues.”


MENTAL HEALTH

  • $2 billion of additional funding for prevention and treatment

  • Half a billion for new adult mental health centres - for moderate to severe illness

  • $278 for Headspace (youth mental health centres)

  • $298 million for suicide prevention, focussing on aftercare plan

What are critics saying?

Shane Bazzi, a writer who is currently being sued by Peter Dutton for defamation, said “I can’t stomach hearing the government pretending to care about mental health. They have forced me and many other people into poverty, cut off my JobSeeker payments completely and a cabinet minister who tortured refugees is suing me for defamation, leaving me suicidal.”


EDUCATION

  • $1.6 billion more for pre-schools in an attempt to boost participation

  • Next to no additional funding for universities (9.3% cut)

  • Private schools will pocket an extra $1.7bn in federal grants next financial year as their funding grows twice as fast as for public schools.

What are critics saying?

Experts note that, while universities are receiving less money from fees, including the absence of international students due to COVID, the government is also providing less financial support. Australian Education Union spokespeople say that “Australian public schools are experiencing booming enrolment growth, yet this Budget fails to deliver the capital works funding that provides modern, 21st century classrooms and facilities"


JOBS

  • 250 000 jobs by 2023

  • JobMaker promise was 450 000, they delivered 1000

  • 140 000 fewer apprentices/trainees

  • 4 million apprentices in insecure/casual/gig work

  • Federal Government claims that its tax cuts for businesses will support the creation of more jobs

What critics are saying

The ALP says “real wages gone backward,” a sentiment backed by Australian Unions, who say that ‘this government has overseen the longest period of low wage growth on record.’ Real wage growth for workers is not expected, under this plan, until 2023-24.


TAX BREAKS

  • Business perks - most businesses will be able to write off full value of eligible assets

  • 10 million people to receive up to $1080 in tax cuts (extended from last year) - cuts will only run for 12 more months

What critics are saying

Michele O’Neil, Australian Unions president, notes that the total tax write-offs for big businesses is equal to $17.9 billion, whereas the total spend for women’s safety over the next four years totals $1.1 billion.


SKILLS AND TRAINING

  • $3 billion for new training places, apprenticeships, traineeships

  • $50 million to extend JobTrainer - providing access to free or low-fee training places in areas with skills shortages. Should deliver 170 000 new places + 100 000 delivered last year

  • Boosting Apprenticeships Commencements program - uncapping number of places in the program, increasing duration of 50% wage subsidy to 12 months, capping subsidy at $7 000 per qtr per apprentice/trainee

  • “We will help more women break into non-traditional trades, with training support for 5,000 places.”

What critics are saying

Experts and workers in the aged care sector have criticised the skills and training budget for their sector.


HOUSING

  • Extending New Home Guarantee - help an additional 10,000 people purchase their first home with as little as a five percent deposit.

  • Introducing Family Home Guarantee - single parents with dependents and allows them to purchase a home with as little as a 2 percent deposit.

  • Expansion of the First Home Super Saver Scheme. This allows first home buyers to withdraw up to $50,000 from voluntary superannuation contributions to put towards a property (up from $30,000 previously).

  • Homebuilder extended - grants for up to $25 000 for renovations

  • $532m over three years for housing for Indigenous Australians in remote communities, particularly in the Northern Territory.

What are critics saying?

Experts said that while social housing has always been a state issue, as the situation has grown so dire, that the federal government might step in more meaningfully. There continue to be some critics of the First Home Super Saver Scheme that involves accessing superannuation funds early.


COVID-19

  • No funding for federal quarantine centre, but $487 million to expand quarantine services in NT

  • Developing on-shore vaccine manufacturing facility - cost undisclosed

  • $1.9 billion for purchasing new vaccines - cost spent thus far undisclosed

What are critics saying?

Critics, including the APL, continue to blame the vaccine rollout ‘bungle’ on the Prime Minister. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg notes that Australia’s deficit during the pandemic is much smaller than that of other developed countries, but critics question why Australia should be worried about a budget surplus when in a pandemic. Labor spokespeople have said that at this time, “governments should be helping people,” rather than attempting to deliver a surplus.


WELFARE

  • $9.5 billion over the next 5 years for JobSeeker for almost 2 million Australians

  • Increase on JobSeeker payments of $50 per fortnight

  • Increased income-free area to $150 per fortnight, meaning recipients can earn more before payments decrease

  • Required job applications to increase from 15 per month to 20 per month from July 2021

  • job seekers will be forced in online employment services to complete their career profile in the JobActive system.

  • spending $2.5 million to set up an employer reporting line to dob in job seekers they think are not seriously applying for jobs

  • $450 per month minimum income threshold for the superannuation guarantee will be removed, meaning people on low incomes can still build up a retirement nest egg.

  • no longer requiring older Australians to meet a work test before they can make voluntary contributions to superannuation

  • those aged over 60 to contribute up to $300,000 into their superannuation if they downsize their home, freeing up more housing stock for younger families

What are critics saying?

Many are critical of the lack of emergency stimulus packages included in the 2021 budget. A debt recovery task force will be funded to crack down on non-compliance with welfare recipients, a move that reminds critics of the robodebt scandal, which is still fresh in the minds of many Australians and caused unnecessary pain for many families.


NDIS

  • $13.2 billion for NDIS across four years

  • $17.9 million will be directed towards early support for young children with developmental concerns or disability.

What critics are saying

Some critics say that many of the benefits for the NDIS may be felt by NDIS providers rather than people who are on the scheme. Many experts say that the extra boost in funding does not make up for the underspending on NDIS over the past term.


AGED CARE

  • $17.7 billion for aged care

  • 80 000 additional Home Care Packages - 275 000 will be available by 2023

  • $7.8 billion towards increasing the number of mins per day nurses spend - ensuring 200 minutes per day with carers, 40 mins with RN

  • 33 000 new care workers trained

  • $10 per day per resident for improved care and food

  • $365 million towards improving the management of medication and support moving between homes and hospitals

What are critics saying?

Labor notes that the planned $17 billion for aged care falls short of what the Royal Commission identified, saying the Federal Government implemented ‘some but not all’ of the recommendations outlined in the report. Those in the industry say that without minimum standards and ratios, issues Unions have been campaigning for, the extra funding won’t be as impactful, and may end up in the pockets of industry investors.


ARTS AND MEDIA

  • Australian media company AAP to receive $15 million

  • $85 million towards national cultural institutions

  • $5 million over two years from 2020-21 to support national performing arts touring through the Playing Australia program.

What are critics saying?

Arts Hub says that the big question was whether funding to the Australia Council for the Arts would be topped up. When the budget was released with no mention of measures relating to the Council, people in the industry have been left highly disappointed. The sector took hard hits during COVID, but has not had the same support as industries like tourism and hospitality for the government.