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6 min read

Update from our Impact Fund Partners: Federal Budget 2023/24

Impact Fund Partners have responded to the Federal Government’s 2023/24 Budget, welcoming critical support to tackle inequality, support First Nations communities, and safeguard the environment.

At the same time, partners have highlighted the need for improvement in many areas.

We’ve collected key responses from a range of partners the Impact Fund has supported in recent years, all of whom are continuing their work for a fairer and more sustainable Australia.

Tackling Inequality

“Important steps, but a bolder vision is needed”

The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), supported by the Impact Fund since 2018 for its Raise the Rate for Good campaign and the accompanying Poverty and Inequality Research Partnership, has welcomed the Budget’s support for single parents and people on low incomes needing health care.

“This Budget takes some important steps forward on many fronts, but a bolder vision is needed to adequately fund health, aged care, income support and other essential services,” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.

“The real increases to base rates of JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and Rent Assistance will still leave more than one million people in poverty, unable to afford three meals a day and a roof over their head. Whilst every dollar counts, the $20 a week increase to JobSeeker and related payments is well below the Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee’s finding that it needs to rise by at least $128 a week to ensure people can cover the basics.”

“No plan to end Australia’s massive shortfall in social homes”

Impact Partner Everybody’s Home is a national campaign led by the Council to Homeless Persons. The campaign calls for investment in social housing to fix Australia’s housing crisis.

“The Budget has no plan to end Australia’s massive shortfall in social homes,” said Everybody’s Home spokesperson Maiy Azize in a statement responding to the Budget. “Instead of acting on the biggest living cost facing Australians, it is tinkering around the edges.

“Finding a decent, affordable home has never been tougher – yet too many people have been pushed into housing stress because they’ve been locked out. [The Budget’s] changes to Commonwealth Rent Assistance won’t make housing more affordable overall. Two in three people on JobSeeker and nine in ten people on Youth Allowance will miss out on rent assistance altogether, and those who do get a small increase will find that it has been swallowed by surging rents.

“The only way to help renters on the lowest incomes is to give a major boost to JobSeeker and other Centrelink payments, and reform rent assistance so that it reaches people in need and keeps up with rent increases.

“Everybody’s Home will continue to push for 25,000 social homes to be built every year, for an end to tax handouts for landlords, and for more support for renters doing it tough.”

“Positive commitments fall short of bold measures needed for women’s safety”

Impact Partner and gender equity organisation, Fair Agenda, has welcomed many of the Budget’s commitments for women, including support for single mothers and investment in female-dominated workforces, while calling out gaps in support for women’s safety.

“This Budget, while making positive strides, falls short of the bold and comprehensive measures we need to ensure women’s safety and wellbeing,” said Renee Carr, Executive Director of Fair Agenda.

“Investing in women’s economic security is a critical step towards a more safe and equitable future. We also welcome the additional funding announced for women’s safety – but these don’t go far enough to close all the holes in the safety net women should be able to rely on.”

While the Budget invests a further $589 million in women’s safety over the next five years, bringing this year’s total to $723 million, Fair Agenda is advocating for further investment to meet the $1 billion annual target experts have been calling for.

Supporting First Nations Self-Determination

“Mixed bag for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families”

This year’s Budget includes almost $2 billion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, housing, education, employment and more.

Impact Partner SNAICC – the national body representing the interests of First Nations children and families – has welcomed the Budget’s investments in more affordable childcare and training for workers in early childhood education, but says the Budget is a “missed opportunity” to reduce the over representation of children in out-of-home care.

“We are disappointed not to see Budget-backed efforts to reduce the numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care,” said SNAICC CEO, Catherine Liddle.

“Earlier this year the Government released Action Plans under Safe and Supported, the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children. Safe and Supported has the potential to be a game changer in keeping our children safe and connected to family and culture and out of the child protection and youth justice systems. But unless the commitments are backed up by funding they are just words on paper.”

Safeguarding the Environment

“Missed opportunity to make Australia’s worst polluters pay”

This year’s Budget marks a step in the right direction for climate action with the Treasurer noting in his Budget speech that “Australia’s biggest opportunity for growth and prosperity is the global shift to clean energy”.

While many have welcomed the Budget’s investment in the renewable hydrogen industry, home energy efficiency, and the establishment of a National Net Zero Authority, Impact Partner 350 Australia has labelled the Budget “a fizzle” and a missed opportunity to cut fossil fuel subsidies.

“Communities are doing it tough right across the country, there’s absolutely no justification to continue to subsidise the gas industry which is making eye-watering profits while fuelling the climate crisis,” said 350 Australia Senior Campaigner Shani Tager.

“Ending funding to fossil fuels is a basic step towards cutting emissions… There are a number of positive climate and energy measures in the Budget but the overall emissions impact of continuing to subsidise the gas industry and retain the fuel tax credit overshadow them.”

“Farmers welcome help to cut emissions”

In a win for climate and farmers, the Budget includes a commitment of $310 million for the Small Business Energy Incentive, which will enable farm businesses to claim tax incentives for investing in batteries and electrification.

Dr Fiona Davis, CEO of Impact Partner Farmers for Climate Action (FCA), has celebrated the announcement, noting that incentives are required to make batteries viable.

“Giving farmers real incentives to invest in batteries has the potential to help reduce peak demand on our electricity grid, which could reduce the need for transmission,” Dr Davis said.

FCA has also welcomed the announcement of the National Net Zero Authority and investment to improve data collection on the impact of climate change and low emission technology on agriculture, while calling for broader investment to help farmers tackle climate change.

Learn more about the Impact Fund

The Impact Fund is a movement of funders and changemakers working for a fairer and more sustainable Australia. Together, we support the boldest solutions to the biggest issues facing people across our country today. Learn more