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Budget 2023: Young Aussies ‘left behind’ by Anthony Albanese


The federal budget has been delivered and while it’s very good news if you have a high income, young Aussies feel they are being let down once again.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Treasurer Jim Chalmers handed over their second budget on Tuesday evening, emphasizing that Labor must prioritize vulnerable Australians in its bid to balance the books.

The treasurer announced $14 billion in cost-of-living relief for struggling Aussies over the next year, while also slyly planning to return $69 billion to some of the nation’s wealthiest over the same period.

The latter stems from a Labor decision not to reverse the Stage 3 tax cuts for the wealthy introduced by the Morrison government – ​​and backed by Labor – meaning workers earning more than $200,000 will receive $9,000 per year in tax relief.

If we break that down further, that’s an extra $173 a week for high income earners.

By comparison, benefit recipients, such as Youth on Youth Benefit, Job Seeker and AusStudy, will receive an additional $20 per week starting Sept. 20.

If you are 55 or older, that amount will be increased with the extension of eligibility for a higher rate in the job seeker’s benefit.

Those in this age group who have received Social Security benefits for nine or more consecutive months will receive an additional $45 per week.

So besides $20 a week – or $2.85 a day – what else was in the budget for young Aussies?

Well, there was the increase in the ceiling for Commonwealth Rent Assistance, which some people on youth benefits are eligible for.

The 15 percent increase on the maximum rates translates to between $7.86 and $15.88 per week.

On Tuesday night, Dr Chalmers claimed this was the biggest increase in more than 30 years and would help “ease the pressure on people who are feeling the pain of rising rents”.

However, many young Australians have been unimpressed by Labour’s offer and have not been shy about expressing their anger.

Jamie, a 25-year-old Tasmanian woman, said the budget made her feel “incredibly depressed” and “disappointed”.

She and her partner are both on Jobseekers and receive rent allowance. Realistically, Jamie said the small raises offered are “no help”.

“My partner and I are both on Jobseeker. We are lucky to be where we are today, but ONE of our wages barely covers our full rent for the fortnight (WITH rent assistance),” she wrote on Twitter.

“That’s still 1x $690 (‘soon’ $730 wowee) to feed 2 people, 2 cats and pay all the bills.”

The young woman said that while that seems like a lot in “raw” numbers, they’re lucky if they each have $100 left over at the end of the two weeks, which is then usually used to pay for necessary appointments.

“We’ve been trying to save for most of the year and we have *nothing* to our name,” she said, adding that most of their savings go toward higher electricity bills, medicine for them or their pets, or the higher cost of groceries.

“We are among the ‘better off’, but we are still struggling tremendously.

“The ‘$20 a week raise’ does nothing. I feel so incredibly depressed. Disappointed. estranged. Hopeless.

“Why is it so difficult for a country’s governing body to do the morally correct thing for its people. No one should live like this.’

Bailey Riley, president of the National Union of Students, the highest representative body for Australian higher education students, said young Aussies had been “left behind again”.

“Labour has produced an extremely mediocre budget that offers young Australians crumbs,” she said.

Another person currently receiving child benefit said it would be impossible for them to survive on the payments.

“I’m lucky enough to live at home and have most of my meals paid for, but I still can’t get by on just the youth benefit and have a car (which I need for my university education, which means I can’t do as much work, what why am I on youth benefit, etc etc)”, said the 22-year-old.

For those on rent assistance, PropTrack senior economist Eleanor Creagh said that even with the increase, the payment is still well below the rate at which rents are rising nationwide.

One in three households who rent are likely to be younger Australians, with lower incomes, less wealth than owner-occupiers, and generally lower savings buffers.

“This increase in Commonwealth Rent Assistance is the largest in over 30 years, but rent assistance payments have long lagged behind rising rents,” said Ms Creagh.

“In the capitals, rents are 18 percent higher than before the pandemic, while in regional areas rents have increased by 23 percent.

“The rental markets in capital cities are significantly undersupplied. As a result, prices are rising sharply and vacancy rates are falling.”

She said that without a meaningful increase in rental supply on the horizon, prices will continue to grow, creating further problems for already struggling tenants.

Anthony Albanian

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.