50,000 new low-deposit places for first-home buyers: Budget news you've missed

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With so many Federal Budget Easter eggs being released over the last few weeks, it can be easy to miss an essential announcement or two.

To ensure you're across things before Tuesday night's big reveal, we've rounded up some of the key Budget measures that have emerged since Friday.

Continued support for first home buyers

budget 2021 housing affordability first home buyers

Australians who've managed to hold onto their home ownership dreams amid soaring property price growth and living costs might be enticed by the additional places announced in the government's home guarantee schemes.

Previously set to end this June, these programs enable borrowers with home deposits under 20% to take out a home loan without having to pay the additional cost of lenders mortgage insurance. The 50,000 new available places are spread over three schemes:

  • 35,000 for the First Home Guarantee (previously known as the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme) which is open to first home buyers with as little as a 5% deposit, so long as their prospective homes are valued under the area-based caps and they earn under $125,000 a year or $200,000 as a couple.
  • 10,000 for the Regional Home Guarantee, a new program available from October 1 where applicants (including non-first-time buyers) must either build or purchase a newly built regional home to access the government backing on deposits from 5%.
  • 5000 for the Family Home Guarantee, which allows single parents to put down a deposit of just 2% to purchase property.

$58 million dedicated to endometriosis clinics and support

The Morrison government rounded out last week by announcing a plan to establish specialised endometriosis and pelvic pain clinics in every state and territory to minimise the financial burden patients face when attempting to diagnose and treat the condition.

More than 830,000 Australians assigned as female at birth live with endometriosis, according to Endometriosis Australia. It is a painful and often debilitating condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the womb. It presents through a constellation of symptoms that are often misdiagnosed.

This funding will primarily go towards establishing the clinics ($16.4 million) and providing access to Medicare-funded MRI scans for women with severe endometriosis and other conditions affecting fertility ($25.2 million). The remainder will be spent on broader endo patient support, research and community awareness and education platforms.

Advocates see this is a positive step, and it is indeed a leap from the $21.6 million dedicated to some endo-specific women's health initiatives we saw in last year's so-called 'Women's Budget'. However, the $58 million might only be seen as a kick-starter to tackling the $9.7 billion per-year Endometriosis Australia says the condition is costing the country in healthcare and loss of productivity.

Mental health in focus with increased Lifeline funding

Lifeline Australia will receive an additional $52.3 million in government funding spread over the next four years. This comes in the wake of the crisis support and suicide prevention service experiencing record demand, with daily calls surpassing 3700 in January this year.

"This funding means that next year Lifeline will be able to take an extra 176,000 calls or texts from Australians. By 2026, this will grow to an extra one million calls or texts from Australians every year," Prime Minister Scott Morrison says.

This adds to the $206.5 million in funding announced earlier in the week to provide alternative treatments and support for young people experiencing severe and complex mental health concerns.

Apprenticeship subsidies extended by three months

Existing programs offering employers wage subsidies to take on and retain apprentices and trainees will be extended until the end of this financial year. The government expects this will get an extra 35,000 trainees on their way to becoming chefs, plumbers, tilers and other tradespeople.

But in an environment of skill and labor shortages, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) chief executive Andrew McKellar says the subsidy cut-off date is premature.

"As it stands, a three-month extension of the BAC scheme doesn't build into the Federal Budget an ongoing commitment for businesses to continue hiring apprentices and trainees amid current economic pressures."

Existing infrastructure projects get a $17.9 billion boost

Road, rail and freight projects will see renewed commitments close to $18 billion in the Budget papers, including the promise of $47.5 million for more commuter car parks in NSW and Victoria. This last project echoes the 2019 Commuter Car Park Fund which suffered setbacks and cancellations after community opposition, cost blow-outs and political accusations of pork-barrelling in the lead up to the federal election.

Other major proposals in the package include $1 billion in upgrades for the Sydney to Newcastle train line, $3.1 billion to deliver freight projects in Victoria and $1.6 billion for the Brisbane to Sunshine Coast rail extension.

Satisfied with the Budget inclusions so far? Give us your take in the comments.

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Olivia Gee is a freelance personal finance writer. She has a double Bachelor's degree in Journalism and Media and Communications from the University of Wollongong.

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