Four takeaways from the Budget reply speech


On Tuesday evening Treasurer Jim Chalmers handed down the Labor government's 2024 Federal Budget - a budget which sought to emphasise measures related to providing cost of living relief and investment in local industry.

As is custom, the Opposition Leader, Peter Dutton, then laid out his response and alternative vision for the country in his budget reply speech on Thursday evening.

With a federal election likely to be called within the next year, this wasn't only a critique of Labor's budget - it was a pitch to voters from the Opposition Leader by way of a number of new policy announcements.

peter dutton's 2024 budget reply speech

So what did Mr Dutton have to say? Here are four takeaways from his address.

1. Superannuation for housing

The issue of home ownership was a theme hit on time and again by Mr Dutton in his speech, with the Opposition Leader arguing that the "great Australian dream of home ownership" had "turned into a nightmare" in the two years since the Coalition government left power.

One measure the Opposition Leader recommitted to, arguing that it would help more prospective home owners enter the market, is allowing young Australians to dip into their super to pay for a deposit.

First-time buyers would be allowed to access up to $50,000 from their superannuation to go towards the purchase of a home, though that money would need to be returned to super if the home was sold. The policy would also be extended to separated women.

In a statement released by the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) after the budget reply, chief executive Mary Delahunty criticised the proposal as one which would worsen inequity without addressing the issue of supply.

"Building more homes is the solution to Australia's housing shortage, and its's unfair to ask young people to mortgage their retirements in an attempt to get on the property ladder, amid a housing-affordability crisis."

Recent research conducted by ASFA found that half of all renters aged between 30 and 39 have less than $30,000 in super - well below the deposit typically needed for entry-level homes in many areas.

2. Two-year foreign investor ban

Still on the housing front, Mr Dutton also announced that should the Coalition be elected, his government would temporarily restrict foreign investors and temporary residents from being able to purchase existing homes in Australia for two years.

Foreign property investors would still be able to buy into new developments though - a carve out that Mike Zorbas, chief executive of the Property Council of Australia, describes as being sensible to support new housing supply.

"The only way to properly address the nation's housing deficit is to build more homes using domestic and global investment and to do this we need to improve investment settings, incentivise housing approvals, fix broken state planning systems and boost high quality housing options."

3. Instant asset write-off boost

On Tuesday, the government announced in the Budget that the existing $20,000 instant asset write-off would be extended for another 12 months until June 30, 2025. The write-off is available to small businesses with a turnover of less than $10 million.

In his Budget reply speech, the Opposition Leader announced that a Coalition government would increase the threshold for eligible assets to $30,000 and make the instant asset write-off an ongoing measure for small businesses.

Also on the subject of tax, Mr Dutton hinted at a new tax plan from the Coalition that would "provide lower, simpler and fairer taxes for all", though he said that further details wouldn't be released until closer to the next election.

4. Doubling of the work bonus for pensioners

The Opposition Leader also pledged to double the Work Bonus available to pensioners and veterans from its current level of $300 per fortnight to $600 per fortnight.

The Work Bonus scheme allows eligible pensioners and other income support recipients to keep more of their pension if they earn income from work.

Mr Dutton said that the maximum amount able to be accrued in the Work Bonus income bank would stay at $11,800, though more would come from the Coalition on the topic in the near future.

"We will look to further expand the work bonus arrangements beyond this commitment in consultation with older Australians and veterans and in consideration of labour market conditions."

For more on the recently unveiled Federal Budget, check out our articles running through some of the cost of living relief and housing measures included.

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Tom Watson is a senior journalist at Money magazine, and one of the hosts of the Friends With Money podcast. He's previously worked as a journalist covering everything from property and consumer banking to financial technology. Tom has a Bachelor of Communication (Journalism) from the University of Technology, Sydney.