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Federal Budget 2024: $20,000 tax break on top of cost of living relief and Centrelink boost for pensioners

Australians want to know what the federal budget will do to address the cost-of-living crisis. Here's what we know.

The government will unveil the 2024 Federal Budget tomorrow and Treasurer Jim Chalmers has hinted further tax reform could help "balance the cost of living". It's the latest hint of what's to come as many struggling Australians look to the government for financial assistance.

Chalmers suggested we will see tax reform in the housing space, but "not the kind some people have been calling for". It's believed this is the treasurer ruling out changes to negative gearing.

Housing is set to be a "major focus", but so is ensuring overall assistance in the budget isn't overcooked and undoes the painful work we've done to bring down inflation.

So, from increasing welfare and wiping HECS debt, to energy rebates and extra cash boosts, here's what we know so far about the relief you can expect when the budget is handed down on Tuesday.

Jim Chalmers
Treasurer Jim Chalmers is set to hand down the federal budget and Australians battling the cost-of-living crisis are wondering, what's in it for them? (Yahoo Finance Australia)

Do you have a story? Email stew.perrie@yahooinc.com

The Labor government copped some heat when they made changes to the Stage 3 tax cuts, labelled an unforgivable broken promise.

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Originally the benefits were heavily skewed to the wealthy, but they've been adjusted to help middle and low-income earners.

Australian workers will see a change in their take-home pay from July this year when they kick in, but Chalmers has indicated further tax changes. He's all but ruled out negative gearing, but announced the extension of a small business tax incentive to allow an immediate $20,000 tax deduction.

As for the rest, it's likely to be skewed to business or investment as the treasurer said they would be linked to the Future Made in Australia program.

We've already heard a lot about the stage 3 tax changes, but here's a simple way to check how they will benefit your pay packet.

If the table is not for you, this is the gist.

A person earning an average wage of $73,000 will get a tax cut of more than $1,500 a year. Those earning $50,000 will pocket an extra $929 a year, while people on $100,000 will receive $2,100. Households on an average income of $130,000 will receive $2,600.

At the upper end, the stage three tax cuts for those earning $200,000 will be slashed from $9,075 to $4,500.

The lowest rate of income tax will be reduced from 19 to 16 cents in the dollar, meaning workers will pay less on the first $45,000 they earn. The second tax rate will be reduced from 32.5 to 30 per cent for people earning up to $135,000.

The 37 per cent rate for people earning over $135,000 will remain and the top tax rate of 45 per cent will kick in at $190,000 rather than $180,000.

Chalmers has been under pressure to make a "substantial" increase to the $762.70 fortnightly JobSeeker unemployment payment, which is about $55 a day.

While Jobseeker payments went up in March this year to $386 per week, many said it wasn't enough to keep up with rising inflation.

Last week, the Treasurer alluded to “additional steps in the budget” to adopt some of the recommendations of the Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee, which has called for a bump to $1,004.67, or about $121 per week.

The body made 22 recommendations, but the treasurer - who is set to deliver a second consecutive budget surplus - stopped short of revealing which would be implemented.

"We can't afford to do every recommendation put to us by that committee," he said.

However, he has since said pensioners could be the target of welfare help.

"There'll be additional help for people on pensions and payments and fixed incomes, and there'll be additional help for people who are doing it tough," he said.

Anthony Albanese has hinted an energy bill lifeline could be continued in July while discussing the benefits of a previous $1.5 billion spent on emergency energy rebates.

"The energy bill relief package I negotiated with the states and territories delivered up to $650 in savings for around 1 million small businesses, along with five million families," he said.

"It helped people under pressure – and it helped fight inflation. And as we put together next month's budget, small businesses and families will again be front and centre in our thinking."

After a groundswell of support for change after stories of Aussies drowning in HECS-HELP debt that grows annually with indexation, the government announced legislation to wipe $3 billion in student loan debt.

Instead of increasing each year in line with the consumer price index (CPI), HECS would be revised based on either CPI or the wage price index (WPI), whichever is lower.

If legislation passes before June 1, the move will be backdated to undo the meteoric 7.1 per cent inflation rise students faced last year.

The government said this will stop debt growth outpacing wages in the future, and reduce an average HELP debt of $26,500 by about $1,200 this year.

Find out how much would be wiped for you here.

Tenants and mortgage holders have been under an immense amount of pressure in the last few years as rents skyrocket and interest rates remain on hold at a 12-year high.

The housing crisis is partly being fuelled by a lack of supply, not enough tradies finishing their apprenticeships, red tape for approvals, and construction company collapses.

To combat this, the Albanese government will spend $11.3 billion on several housing initiatives.

There will be $9.3 billion allocated for a new five-year national agreement on social housing and homelessness. About $1 billion will be directed towards crisis and transitional accommodation for women and children escaping domestic violence and young people.

States and territories will share in a further $1 billion for the construction of roads, sewers, energy, water and community infrastructure needed for new homes and additional social housing supply.

The budget is also forecasting headline inflation to fall from its current rate of 3.6 per cent to 2.75 per cent by December. If that is achieved, inflation would finally be in the Reserve Bank of Australia's target zone and that could usher in some interest rate cuts.

Find out more here.

The government has sought to address "placement poverty" by offering a $320-a-week payment for some university students struggling to do unpaid mandatory placements, on top of study and work.

The $320 weekly payment is for students studying:

  • Nursing

  • Teaching

  • Midwifery

  • Social work

This included university students and VET students, approximately 68,000 and 5,000 respectively.

The payment will be means-tested and paid in addition to any income support the student may already receive.

Find out more here.

The government is offering to pay superannuation on top of Paid Parental Leave (PPL).

The 12 per cent payments would be applicable from July next year, if Labor is re-elected.

The government announced the policy earlier this year, however, it won't be available until July 1 next year.

Chalmers said this will help women earn and keep more in retirement.

“A stronger paid parental leave system is good for families and good for the economy as well," he said.

It's unclear how much this policy will cost, however that will be unveiled in the Budget.

The government has announced a $49.1 million package to help women access longer specialist consultations and receive increased rebates for gynaecological care.

Longer specialist appointments for conditions such as endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome of 45 minutes or more will be covered by Medicare from July 2025.

Endometriosis is estimated to affect at least one in nine Australian women and it takes, on average, seven years before a diagnosis is received.

Health Minister Mark Butler said the subsidised longer appointments would aim to allow more women to receive a quicker diagnosis.

"Women are suffering unnecessarily. They're having their experiences dismissed, being called hysterical and accused of drug shopping. Women's pain is real and it's time we stop telling women to just suck it up," he said.

Find out more about the package here.

Financial support for women escaping violent relationships and measures countering misogynistic views online will be included in the budget to tackle gendered violence.

Albanese met state and territory leaders on ways to prevent violence against women at a snap national cabinet meeting following a spike in deaths.

As part of the changes, the government will introduce a $925 million package that will provide $5,000 for women escaping violent or abusive situations.

The Leaving Violence Program will run over the next five years and is a permanent extension of a previous two-year trial that was set to expire at the end of January.

Those eligible will receive $1,500 in cash and a further $3,500 made up of goods and services, which will be indexed in coming years.

In addition to that, there will be laws introduced to ban the creation and distribution of deepfake pornography. A pilot program will also be set up for age assurance technology to block access for children to online content such as pornography.

Find out more here.

The federal government will fund an additional 20,000 fee-free TAFE places for wannabe tradies.

Labor plans to invest a total of $90.6m for an extra 15,000 free TAFE and VET places and 5,000 pre-apprenticeships to increase a pipeline of skilled workers in the construction and housing industry.

Skills and Training Minister Brendan O’Connor said the new investment would support more people to enter secure and well-paid work and strengthen Australia’s housing supply.

The new 15,000 TAFE places will be across different roles in housing and construction and will be allocated based on what skills are most needed in each state and territory.

The 5,000 pre-apprenticeships will lead to a pipeline of traditional building trade apprenticeships critical to the housing and construction sectors, such as carpenters, plumbers, and bricklayers.

Find out more here.

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