Winners and losers from Budget 2022
With cost of living pressures causing concern for many households and a federal election close on the horizon, the release of the 2022-23 Federal Budget comes at pivotal time for both individual Australians and the federal government.
So now that Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has handed down this year's budget, what can Australians expect in the way of spending?
Here's a quick breakdown of the areas and groups that will benefit from this year's Budget, and those that will miss out.
Low and middle-income earners
Low and middle-income earners are at the heart of the government's cost of living budget initiatives, with members of the cohort likely to benefit from the one-off, $420 'cost of living tax offset' and any petrol price relief that comes from a cut to the fuel excise.
The government has been keen to emphasise the temporary nature of these measures though, so the benefits will also likely be short-lived.
For instance, while the new $420 cost of living tax offset in combination with the existing low and middle income tax offset (LMITO) could see some taxpayers benefit from a reduction as high as $1500 this year, it looks as though the LMITO won't be extended meaning many earners could end up forking out more tax next year.
Around six million Australians on income support, including pensioners, veterans and concession card holders, will also receive a one-off, $250 payment to help with cost of living pressures.
The payment is set to be automatically paid out in April.
Regional home buyers
While soaring property prices have made it more difficult for many prospective homeowners to enter the market, this year's Budget has thrown some support towards would-be home buyers with low deposits - particularly those looking to buy in regional areas.
Under the newly proposed Regional Home Guarantee, 10,000 places will be allocated to eligible buyers who are looking to purchase a newly built home or build a home of their own in the regions with a home deposit as low as 5%.
The government will step in and guarantee the loan, meaning buyers won't have to pay for lenders mortgage insurance.
"The introduction of the Regional Home Guarantee has the potential to help home buyers but also to boost home building in the regions," says HIA managing director, Graham Wolfe.
"Many people have chosen to move to regional areas over the last two years to build a new life, placing pressure on housing affordability in these areas."
In addition, 35,000 more places will also be made available to first home buyers under the First Home Guarantee scheme while a further 5000 places will be opened up for single parents under the Family Home Guarantee scheme.
A $58 million package has also been put together to improve endometriosis research and funding - a disease that Endometriosis Australia says affects more than 830,000 women across the country.
As part of the package the government will fund the construction of specialist treatment centers in each state and territory, and it will make access to MRI scanning available through Medicare.
Aside from the emotional and physical impacts of the disease, endometriosis can also have enormous financial costs as writer and endometriosis sufferer Kylie Maslen explained to Money in 2021.
"While the physical symptoms of endometriosis are becoming more widely known - and, thankfully, are starting to be diagnosed earlier - what is less commonly discussed is the economic impact the condition carries."
One of the biggest questions coming into this year's Budget was whether the government would choose to address the sharp jump in petrol prices via a temporary cut to the fuel excise.
Well they've done just, announcing a 50% cut to the fuel excise for six months, though the flow-on effect to prices at petrol stations may take a few weeks to kick in.
Billions of dollars in new funding have also been allocated towards a range of road projects including $2.26 billion for the North-South Corridor in Adelaide, $678 million towards sealing parts of the Outback Way and $352 million for the Milton Ulludulla bypass on the south coast of New South Wales.
And despite the headaches caused by the controversial Commuter Car Park fund, the government has also earmarked an additional $47.5 million in this year's Budget for five commuter car park projects in New South Wales and Victoria.
Australian small businesses are also likely to benefit from a number of measures outlined in this year's Budget, especially those looking to invest in their employees and technology.
Starting tonight, small business will receive a $120 tax deduction for every $100 they spend on employee training or digital technologies like cyber security and cloud computing.
And for the 2022-23 financial year around 2.3 million small and medium-sized businesses will be able to make PAYG and GST installments at a lowered GDP uplift rate of 2%, which the government says will help provide a boost to cash flow.
Australians experiencing homelessness
There was no funding in the Budget for a national plan to end homelessness
"Plans to help first homeowners unfortunately will not help most of the 275,000 people experiencing homelessness each year," says Mission Australia CEO Sharon Callister.
"The Budget also ignored the needs of those older people who are among the fastest-growing groups of those who are homeless."
Women and super
With this Budget, the government missed an opportunity to improve the financial security of Aussie women.
"Our super system has a persisting gender blind spot that sees women retire with almost a third less super than their male counterparts," says HESTA CEO Debby Blakey.
She called for the next government to introduce a superannuation carer credit for new parents on unpaid parental leave, and pay super on Commonwealth paid parental leave.
Motorists scored a quick win in a 50% reduction of the fuel excise, saving drivers about $10 per tank for regular cars or closer to $20 for thirstier models. But the lack of incentives or investment in electric vehicles and charging infrastructure was noted by many observers.
EV Council chief executive, Behyad Jafari, says that instead of reducing fossil fuel costs, "we could be spending that money fixing the problem for good".
"Anyone who says we can't afford - or that it's not good value for money - to subsidise electric vehicles, that would end our dependence on imported oil, needs to shut up," he says.
Renewable energy researcher Scott Hamilton tweeted that the $2 billion spent reducing consumer fuel costs could have been spent reducing the nation's reliance on petrol.
"Imagine how many EVs and green H₂ [hydrogen] cars and trucks we could have put on the road and how many zero-emission refuelling stations - with this sort of money every year for the past nine years."
James Voortman, chief executive of the Australian Automotive Dealer Association, welcomed the fuel tax cut but says the government needs to look further ahead and address structural issues surrounding the car industry.
Mr Voortman says that "what is desperately needed is a wholesale review of the automotive taxation system in Australia".
"This Budget shows that motorists will be paying billions in taxes, such as import tariffs, the luxury car tax, fringe benefits tax, GST and excise," he says.
"With Australia no longer manufacturing passenger vehicles and with the emergence of low emissions vehicles (LEVs), it is questionable whether our current automotive taxation regime is fit for purpose."
The Australian Automobile Association, peak body for motoring clubs such as the NRMA and RACV, said the change in fuel prices "may possibly offer some short-term relief for motorists in a volatile global fuel market, but believes it generates more medium-term challenges than it solves".
The RACQ acknowledged the temporary reduction in fuel tax and welcomed an extra $1 billion in road and rail transport spending for Queensland.
Draught beer retailers
There were high hopes that the Budget would come with some tax relief for small brewers and distillers after beer sales plunged in the past two years due to COVID-19, but a pint of beer today is not going to be any cheaper.
The proposed halving on the cost of a beer keg through tax cuts was absent in this year's announcement.
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