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June 7, 2023

Labor MP spruiks 2023–24 budget 

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MPs Anthony Albanese and Justine Elliot. Photo Jeff Dawson.

Cost of living relief, investment towards net-zero and economic responsibility is how local federal Labor MP, Justine Elliot, has framed her party’s first budget this term.

‘I know for our region that’s vitally important,’ Elliot told BayFM’s Community Newsroom last week.

The member for Richmond also took the opportunity to express outrage at the Greens’ refusal to support Labor’s Housing Australia Future Fund Bill 2023.

According to The Guardian, the Greens say they will not support it, ‘unless the government offers substantial improvements’, including $5B of direct spending on housing and a national rent freeze.

And overshadowing Labor’s budget was their commitment to implement the previous government’s stage three tax cuts, which will give those earning over $200,000 per year a $9,000 windfall. 

Some of the nation’s top economists told The SMH (Nine) in 2022, the tax cuts were ‘unaffordable’ and would drive inflation.

So, what’s in the Labor government’s federal budget for the people of the Richmond electorate?

A big component of Labor’s budget aims is strengthening Medicare ‘through a whole range of initiatives,’ Elliot said, before describing the tripling of bulk-billing incentives as ‘the real centrepiece’. 

‘We know this is an issue in our region, everywhere you go, we all know that people just cannot access doctors who bulk bill, I’ve heard this from many people in our region, many doctors as well,’ Elliot said. 

Federal Labor MP, Justine Elliot. Photo Tree Faerie

Bulk billing returns, but only for some

Ms Elliot says the bulk-billing increase is the biggest investment in Medicare in its history, but the increase only applies to fees for concession card holders and children sixteen years and under. 

Those on low incomes and without concession cards will miss out.

The increase isn’t due to start until November, unlike many of the other schemes announced in the budget, leaving Australians to go through another winter and associated flus before bulk billing kicks in.

‘There are obviously starting dates for all of this,’ Elliot said, ‘but we have been looking at ten years of inaction’. 

‘I know many people are saying they just have made a choice previously to not go to the doctor because they just couldn’t afford it,’ Elliot said, ‘so this is something that I’m really proud of as part of the Labor team’. 

Welfare support

Labor has also promised to provide an extra $40 per fortnight for those struggling to survive on JobSeeker welfare payments – currently a single unemployed person without children can be paid $693.10 a fortnight. 

Yet this comes well short of what the government’s own interim economic inclusion committee recommends. 

It reported in April that JobSeeker payments act as a barrier to entering the workforce, as job seekers don’t have enough to meet the ‘essentials of life’.

But there is some respite for those aged 55 and over, with access to higher welfare support to become available. Until now, it was only available to those who were over 60.

Similarly, single care-givers in charge of children up to the age of 14 will be entitled to extra support, while those in charge of 15–18 year olds miss out. 

Services Australia’s website says those aged between 16 and 21 can apply for youth allowance as a job seeker.

Labor has also promised what equates to a maximum of $31 extra per fortnight in rent assistance.

The biggest increase to the scheme in 30 years is still nowhere near enough to compensate for some of the skyrocketing rent increases that we’ve seen over the past few years, so what else has Labor got planned in terms of housing investment?

Housing fund stalled

Elliot says Labor’s Housing Australia fund, worth $10 billion, will also see an extra $2 billion added in the budget. 

‘This includes predominantly social housing. There is some affordable housing, but it also includes 4,000 homes for women and children fleeing domestic violence,’ Elliot said. 

Yet the bill has so far failed to win necessary support from either the Greens or the coalition, with the Greens calling for more housing support, while the coalition says the scheme is inflationary and unworkable.

‘The Greens teamed up yet again with the Liberals and Nationals and we’ve seen this, we saw it with the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) over a decade ago,’ Elliot said. 

According to The Guardian on May 8, the Grattan Institute think tank says, ‘The Greens rightly point out that this doesn’t go far enough, but they over-egg their criticisms of the future fund model.’ 

Economic policy program director, Brendan Coates, said the future fund model is where the federal government provides funding to the states, then passes it on to housing organisations. 

Locally, that could be housing providers such as Social Futures and North Coast Housing.

Coates said he ‘can’t understand’ why Labor won’t commit to a minimum yearly disbursement from the fund, noting that it doesn’t appear willing to put more money on the table.

Last week, Elliot also announced on social media $3M in joint funding with the NSW Labor government, ‘to build more social and affordable housing’ in Mullumbimby. 

She was criticised online for it being too little, given ‘$3M will nearly buy three houses’. 

Low-cost loans for energy efficiency

Treasurer, Jim Chalmers, also promised support for all houses in Australia, including affordable and social housing, to become more energy efficient through double glazing and solar panels. 

The budget shows around 110,000 households will be eligible for shares in a $1 billion fund for low-cost loans to have double glazing, solar panels and other energy improvements installed.

Labor’s $1.6 billion energy savings plan also includes $300 million for energy efficiency improvements in social housing and $310 million for businesses investing in renewable energy and efficiency measures to receive tax deductions.

The member for Richmond confirmed all residential properties would be eligible for the energy efficiency scheme, including rental properties, with the landowner’s cooperation.

Both the energy efficiency scheme and the government’s automatic energy bill rebate for concession cardholders such as pensioners, veterans and seniors, recipients of Carers Allowance and some Family Tax Benefit recipients are to start in July. 

‘That will be $500 in power bill relief in total that will come off people’s bills,’ Elliot said.

For more information, visit www.budget.gov.au.

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  1. And here is silly me thinking that the ALP had found an old Liberal Budget and decided just to use it.

    Particularly the “commitment to implement the previous government’s stage three tax cuts, which will give those earning over $200,000 per year a $9,000 windfall. ”

    Well done , someone……

  2. Well done to you and the Labor Party Justine, the people in Richmond will definitely benefit under difficult times.

    • As an addon, those pretender climate champions, A ustralian L iberal -lite P arty, loves the coal – 11/5/23 Minister Tanya Plibersek approved four new coal projects.
      Well done to you A L P.
      Calling the Keith, please tell us more about this “orderly transmission” to continued carbon economy. Four new coal projects, go you good thing, yeah. You just can’t make this up if you tried.
      The only explanation must be, “Its all the Greens fault”, lol.

      • Calling Joachim, anybody home?, please tell us all about these 10 billion of subsidies the Govt pays to the fossil fuel industries, we are still waiting, and waiting, but I see you actually got something right it is the greens fault but it is not a laughing matter.

  3. Yeh, good on you Justine, thanks for nothing and trying to cover up Albo’s dozen broken promises. Well done, one would never expect more from the nothing to see here mob.

  4. Justine Elliot, “‘The Greens teamed up yet again with the Liberals and Nationals and we’ve seen this, we saw it with the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) over a decade ago,’ Elliot said.”.
    It truly amazing that ALP still keep going back to their poisoned well of their CPRS.

    ‘Teamed up’yet again’, my, my, best be careful throwing around accusations.
    The Greens don’t team up with the LNP, but we have seen the ALP ‘teaming up’ with the LNP.
    In fact the ALP ‘teamed up’ with the LNP over the very issue of the CPRS.
    This will hurt, a bit more sorry history for the ALP lovers, on their beloved CPRS.
    When Rudd refused any negotiation with the Greens over the CPRS, Rudd ‘teamed up’ with the LNP Opposition then led by Malcolm Turnbull. The deal had been done – ALP and LNP ‘teamed up’ – to pass Rudd’s CPRS …until…enter Abbott….Abbott rolled Turnbull for Leadership of the LNP Opposition.
    That ‘deal’ for the CPRS was now off with Abbott’s ascension. And the CPRS sunk without trace as Rudd refused any negotiation with the Greens and Rudd ran away completely from the CPRS – he had the chance to call a double dissolution election but he no longer had the conviction in his own policy.

    Latterday ALP and LNP ‘teamed up’, does it get any worse than the despicable action in 2017 that saw the ALP and the LNP ‘teamed up’ and vote in the Senate to amend Native Title Law Rights that dismissed all objections to the then proposed Adani Carmichael Coalmine. The only opposition vote – The Greens. First Nations People shafted by the ALP, you just couldn’t make that up if you tried but the ALP did it anyway.
    The ALP and the LNP, they love their coal!

    Latterday ALP and LNP ‘teamed up’. We had that event in 2021 over $’staxpayer subsidy to speed up the fracking of The Beetaloo Basin – the Big New Methane Bomb is coming. Independent MP, Zali Steggall tried to get a disallowance motion passed to null the $’staxpayer subsidy but you guessed it, The ALP and LNP ‘teamed up’ to oppose Zali Steggall’s disallowanace motion.
    The ALP and the LNP, they love their gas!

    • A typo correction, “dismissed all objections to the then proposed Adani Carmichael Coalmine”, should read as, ‘dismissed all objections under Federal Law to the then proposed Adani Carmichael Coalmine’.

    • You are up to your usual Green hyperbole, Joachim, what the ALP love is to keep their election promises, keep Aussies in jobs while this orderly transition to renewables happens, keep energy price rises to a minimum and keep the lights on for Aussie households and businesses. Do the Greens even understand that with their ideological deficiently.

      • Keith, Keith, Keith, facts again, it really is a no go zone for you.
        ‘Teamed up’ facts, it hurts doesn’t it Keith.
        Rudd’s CPRS ‘teamed up’ with LNP, its on the public record, it hurts doesn’t it Keith.
        Shorten ALP ‘teamed up’ with LNP over Native Title Amendment to favour Adani’s Carmichael Coalmine, its on the public record, it hurts doesn’t it Keith..

        The only hyperbole is…our Keith.

  5. It must be hard for you Greg, but chin up, we are doing quite well fixing the mess we were left with from your incompetent and corrupt mob.

  6. Nothing is hard for me KD. It is very easy however to see a struggling novice government that over promised and under delivered massively. Nothing to see here, let’s cover it up with the voice referendum smoke and mirrors. Pathetic mob.

  7. You are kidding aren’t you Greg, and yes the Labor Govt is struggling, struggling to fix the mess your hopeless mob left us, but fear not we will.


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