October 2022 Federal Budget

Was there anything in it for older Australians?

The Treasurer Jim Chalmers delivered his first budget last night.

The first budget for a new Government is a time to establish its economic credentials.  This was certainly a focus for the Treasurer with a strong emphasis on reducing the forecast deficit, helped by revenue windfalls from higher commodity prices.

Big announcements included:

  • An increase in childcare subsidies
  • An extension of paid parental leave from 18 to 26 weeks
  • Several programs to help address housing availability and affordability including a national aspirational target to build one million new homes over 5 years from 2024
  • More support for students including nearly half a million new fee free TAFE places and Government support for additional university places for under represented peoples in areas such as teaching, nursing and engineering.
  • An additional $1.4b to expand the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) including for Covid treatments and cancer and a further $787m to reduce the PBS co-payments
  • An increase in the permanent migration visas from 160,000 to 195,000 to help address labour and skills shortages.

What about older Australians?

There wasn’t a lot really.  Essentially the Treasurer outlined three initiatives that we already knew about:

  • The increased thresholds for the CSHC were confirmed and the legislation is currently going through Parliament.  You can read more about these here.
  • The work bonus increase to $11,800 was also confirmed and it is also currently going through Parliament.
  • The contribution age for downsizer contributions was lowered to age 55 and above.  This will enable more people preparing for retirement to get more money into super.  As with the first two points the legislation for this is currently passing through Parliament.

There was also a commitment to increase Aged Care support including:

  • Mandating care minutes per Age Care resident
  • Mandating the presence of a registered nurse 24:7
  • Funding for the Maggie Beer Foundation to provide training to staff to meet new nutritional standards

What didn’t we see?

Cost of living pressures are facing us all.  The Age Pension keeps up with inflation but self funded retirees don’t benefit from that.  And from comments I have received on previous articles many on the Age Pension don’t see the inflation indexed rises in the Age Pension as being sufficient to meet the rising prices on essentials.

We will keep you updated on the passage of the CSHC threshold rises, the downsizer contribution and the work bonus increase as they pass through Parliament over the next few days.

So what are your thoughts on the budget?  Would you have liked to see more in it for older Australians or do you think that given the economic circumstances the balance was about right?