This budget has brought limited relief to ease rising cost-of-living pressures. Young people will benefit from some measures announced, but there’s still a long way to go.
JobSeeker and Youth Allowance have received only a meagre rise, and there’s been little to address the rental crisis for young people experiencing housing stress.
We will continue to campaign with our community sector allies for the government to raise the rate of working age payments to at least $76 per day, so young people are not living below the poverty line.
Learn more about how the budget impacts you below.
The government has made some important investments in Medicare, income support, rental assistance and family support. These are a first step and represent a strategic shift in approach, but they will still leave many young people below the poverty line.
In this budget we have seen:
- The base rate of working age and student payments increased by $2.86 per day ($20 per week) including JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance, Parenting Payment (Partnered), Austudy, ABSTUDY, Disability Support Pension (Youth), and Special Benefit. The raise will begin 20 September 2023.
- For people over 55, the base rate of JobSeeker increased to $6.57 per day ($46 per week) if they have been on the payment for 9 or more continuous months.
- Rent assistance lifted for the first time in 30 years by 15%.
- Parenting Payment extended to single parents with children up to the age of 14 (previously 8).
- A one-time energy payment package of between $350 - $500 for eligible households.
While the energy payments may provide immediate relief for some, this is brief relief in an ongoing cost-of-living crisis.
We are disappointed to see no action on the indexation of HECS debts, which impacts on young people’s long term financial security.
The single parenting payment extension is a big win. We hope this much fought for support will reduce poverty and provide extra stability for those young people whose parents or carers receive this support.
With this welcome announcement for single parents, we need to ensure young people, and others on income support payments, are not left behind.
The $2.86 per day increases to JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and other working age payments are insufficient. This falls short of the government’s own advisory committee recommendation to prioritise a substantial increase. Similarly, the rent assistance increase will do little to ease rental stress in the context of rapidly rising rents and inflation.
The lack of real change in these payments means many young people will move into or continue to live in poverty.
Housing and homelessness
While there has been some investment to address the overstretched rental market and reduce rental stress for renters, young people urgently need immediate action.
The government has:
- Expanded the eligibility of the Home Guarantee Scheme. This means any 2 eligible people can be joint applicants for a guarantee.
- Introduced Homes that are built for the purpose of being rented, not sold as investment properties.build-to-rent incentives.
These changes won’t benefit low-income earners who need an immediate and urgent response to address under supply, poor quality rental housing stock and rapidly rising rents. With little to no rental stock affordable for young people living on income support payments, we are deeply concerned more young people will be forced into unstable housing and homelessness.1
A quarter of all people experiencing homelessness in Victoria are aged 12 to 24. The government must urgently address the youth housing crisis with a National Youth Homelessness Strategy.2
We welcome the government’s significant investments in healthcare. This is a big win for patients and shows a commitment to making healthcare accessible for all.
Major investments have been made in Medicare, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), and supporting Primary Health Networks to extend after-hours care programs for multicultural communities and people experiencing homelessness.
Announcements that will directly impact young people include:
- $3.5 billion over five years will triple the general practitioners’ (GPs) bulk-billing incentives to increase bulk billing for Commonwealth concession card holders and patients under 16.
- $143.9 million over two years to improve access to primary care after-hours programs. This includes establishing a Homelessness Support Program and supporting multicultural communities to access healthcare.
- Reducing patient costs and improving access to medicines and services delivered by community pharmacies. This includes$79.5 million over four years and $19.9 million ongoing to double the Regional Pharmacy Maintenance Allowance to ensure ongoing viability of pharmacies.
- Doubling the amount of certain PBS medicines available under one script from 1 September 2023.
- $31.6 million to trial better training arrangements that support international medical students working in rural and remote locations.
- $19.8 million over four years to extend activities that support the prevention, intervention and treatment of blood borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections (STIs).
Everyone deserves equal access to good quality healthcare. These announcements – particularly the bulk billing incentives – will have a direct impact on the lives of young people and their families, especially those who are disabled or chronically ill.
While the Government did not reinstate the 20 subsidised mental health appointments made available through COVID lockdowns, we welcome announcements to increase young people’s access mental health support. These include:
- $6.9 million over two years to continue child and youth mental health supports, including supporting digital work and study, and student mentoring.
- $260.2 million over two years to extend Commonwealth psychosocial supports for people with severe mental illness who are not in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
- $14.4 million over two years to support the continuation of Support for people who lose someone by suicide.postvention services nationally for people experiencing grief and distress due to suicide loss.
- $3.1 million to support digital mental health services to meet increased demand driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. $8.7 million to continue the current service capacity of digital mental health services.
- $8.7 million over three years to establish and operate two independent national mental health lived-experience peak bodies.
- $6.2 million to support positive body image in children.
- $2.8 million in 2023–24 to extend eating disorder mental health supports.
- $10.5 million to increase mental health supports for First Nations people during the referendum period.
We look forward to the establishment of the consumer and carer lived-experience peak bodies, and hope that young people’s voices will be an integral part in the set-up and roll out of these peaks. YACVic would welcome a model similar to Victoria’s interim regional bodies where board members are paid, recruited for lived experience and include young people.
With youth unemployment at 7.8% (March 2023)3 and more than double the national rate, there are some positive steps in this budget for young people:
- $26.3 million over 5 years to boost employment services for young Australians in the care economy (early childhood education and care, disability and aged care sectors), continue pre-employment services for First Nations people who are incarcerated, trial a new regional employment service approach and support workers and communities through enhancements to the Local Jobs Program.
- $8.6 million over 4 years to implement the Australian Skills Guarantee, ensuring one in 10 workers on major Australian Government-funded projects is an apprentice, trainee or paid cadet, including sub-targets for women.
- Additional funding of $54.3 million over 5 years to introduce a new non-financial support model for Australian Apprenticeships to increase apprenticeship completion rates and apprentice workforce diversity.
- Superannuation to be paid on employee’s pay day (‘payday super’).
The introduction of Superannuation being paid on the day that you get your pay check, instead of at an employer’s discretion.payday super by 2026 is a win for young people. We hope this will counter super theft and its long-term implications which disproportionately impact young workers. Along with the criminalisation of wage theft in Victoria, this will create meaningful change for young people in our state.
But more needs to be done for young people experiencing unemployment and When a person is not employed to their full capacity. For example, they don't get many hours of work, or they're working a job that doesn't match their skills or training. underemployment. Employers have an opportunity to create more supportive workplaces for young people, and youth services are well-placed to work with them to remove the barriers that block young people from securing and succeeding in meaningful work opportunities.
Youth Work is listed on the Skills Priority List as a current shortage, and future strong demand, right across Australia. As such, government should provide opportunities for youth work degrees and diplomas, especially to young people from marginalised backgrounds who would bring strong lived experience to the work. We call on the government to add the Diploma of Youth Work to free TAFE.
Education, skills and training
We are pleased that 300,000 fee-free TAFE and VET places have been announced in the Federal Budget.
YACVic hopes these places will include rural and regional areas to support young people to stay and study in their communities.
Additional announcements for young people include:
- Funding of $18.7 million over 4 years to extend and expand existing higher education student support programs. This includes additional funding for the Higher Education Disability Support Program to better support disabled students to access higher education.
- $5.1 million to continue the National Careers Institute. Funding will ensure the School Leavers Information Kit continues to support young people’s decision-making about their education, employment, and training pathways.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
The government has continued the critical work towards achieving Voice, Treaty and Truth with $364.6 million over 3 years to deliver the referendum on a Voice to Parliament.
The funding includes $10.5 million in 2023–24 to increase mental health supports for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people during the referendum period, recognising the increasing stress First Nations people may experience during this process.
Other significant investments include:
- $238.5 million over four years to improve cancer outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This will be invested in building the healthcare workforce to improve screening and prevention activities, coordination, access support, and research and data collection.
- $492.7 million over five years for investment in infrastructure, employment, justice, education and housing initiatives for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The budget included no efforts to reduce the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home-care, which Aboriginal organisations have long been advocating for.
Read more about Aboriginal-led responses.
Climate change and disaster response
Climate change action and disaster resilience are incredibly important to young people. There have been some solid investments, but much more needs to be done.
In green energy, hydrogen is seeing a significant investment of $2 billion. Other major announcements include:
- $1.3 billion to establish the Household Energy Upgrades Fund to support home upgrades that improve energy performance.
- $236 million over 10 years to fix high priority flood warning infrastructure and address critical reliability risks.
- $231.8 million to enable Services Australia to respond to disaster events.
- $83.2 million over four years to establish a national Net Zero Authority, to support communities manage the transformation to a clean energy economy.
- $80 million over four years to support the supply of cheap, clean and reliable energy across Australia.
- $148.6 million over four years towards the sustainability of the Murray-Darling Basin.
These investments do not match the climate emergency we currently face.
Environment groups are urgently calling on the government to increase funding to ensure our rivers can be restored to health, with the Murray-Darling Basin funding falling short for recovery.
This budget again included fossil fuel subsidies, encouraging multi-nationals to keep using coal, oil and gas.
Read more about the environment sector’s response.
Alcohol and other drugs (AOD)
The government will regulate nicotine vaping products, fund national public health campaigns and increase support for people to stop vaping and smoking.
YACVic welcomes this investment that aims to reduce vaping-related harms, particularly for young people. We are concerned overregulation may see the criminalisation and stigmatisation of young people who currently vape, which creates a barrier to seeking help. Instead, YACVic encourages a health-based approach to support young people who vape (and/or use other drugs) that prioritises education, support and wrap-around care.
We are pleased there’s been a commitment of $68.3 million for extending existing alcohol and other drug prevention, help and support and treatment services. This will provide much-needed support for people experiencing dependence and for their families and carers. It will also support early intervention strategies to prevent and reduce substance-related harm, including for young people.
The government is making medication for people experiencing opioid dependence affordable under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). For more that 50,000 people in Australia wanting treatment for opioid dependence, this removes a key barrier to access.
Read more about the AOD sector’s response.
YACVic welcomes investments that will benefit disabled young people.
As a first step towards ensuring a sustainable National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the Government will provide $910 million over four years to support NDIS participant outcomes and the effective and sustainable operation of the Scheme. Read more about the funding breakdown.
YACVic welcomes the commitment in this funding to reducing fraud in the NDIS. We urge the government to use this as an opportunity to ensure the NDIS can grow with the needs of disabled people through co-design and co-production. The government should also provide increased support that recognises how disabled young people navigate more complex systems with limited support, and ensure employment and housing services are fully inclusive and accessible.
The investment of $57 million over four years to the supported employment sector, including employment advocacy and information services, is a step towards recognising this. We hope this investment will support people with disability with more employment opportunities.
With COVID still very much impacting the lives of disabled young people, the following announcements will help reduce COVID infection exposure for disabled young people:
- $14.1 million for COVID leave grants for disability support workers.
- Two COVID antivirals (nirmatrelvir and ritonavir (Paxlovid)) to be listed on Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
Other announcements for disabled young people include:
- $17.7 million over four years in additional funding for the Higher Education Disability Support Program (DESP) to better support students with disability.
- A modest package of $7.3 million over three years to reduce the number of people under the age of 65 living in residential aged care.
- $260.2 million over two years to extend Commonwealth psychosocial supports for people with severe mental illness who are not in the NDIS.
It's disappointing to see no money for violence prevention initiatives or dedicated accessible housing, as recommended by the disability sector in response to issues identified in Disability Royal Commission.
Gender equity and LGBTIQA+
There were no major funding announcements for LGBTIQA+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer and Asexual. The plus symbol represents other identities in the community not listed in the acronym.LGBTIQA+ people. $0.9 million over two years from the 2022-23 Federal Budget to establish the 10 Year National Action Plan for LGBTIQA+ Health and Wellbeing continuing into 2023-24. This Plan will support the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQA+ people and establish a LGBTIQA+ Health Advisory Group.
There were some announcements for gender equity:
- Deliver women’s safety initiatives under the National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children 2022–32.
- Support for research and data collection activities that support women and girls’ health outcomes.
- Review award rates in the context of new gender equality and job security and updated Fair Work Act 2009 objectives.
These announcements, combined with the extension to the single parenting payment, has seen the budget have a strong focus on women but overlook equity investments for other marginalised genders.
Migrant and refugee communities
The government announced targeted measures for migrant and refugee communities, with some focus on new and young migrants and mental health support.
These much-needed supports fall short of measures needed to ensure the full protection of migrant and refugee young people. Announcements included:
- $136 million over four years for mental health support to address trauma and family violence for survivors of torture.
- $9.1 million to extend existing Youth Transition Support services for 12 months to young refugees and migrants to improve their employment outcomes.
- $18 million to improve safety in international child abduction cases.
- An extra two years of post-study work rights granted to eligible international higher education graduates of Australian institutions.
- An increase in the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold from $53,900 to $70,000 from 1 July 2023 to account for indexation.
There’s been no increase in humanitarian intake and the government will continue the cruel offshore and onshore detention regime with over $1 billion until 2026-27 to hold refugees in Nauru, and $1.4 billion allocated to maintain onshore detention regime.
Read more about the refugee and asylum seeker support sector response.
While there were mentions of initiatives to improve road safety, public transport did not receive any major funding from the Government in this budget.
We hope to see funding from the Victorian Government to meet young people’s transport needs, especially in rural and regional areas.
Other investments impacting young people
- $12.1 million over four years for social media resources on consent for young people and to support community-led sexual violence prevention pilots.
- $199.8 million over six years address entrenched community disadvantage, including through place-based approaches. Entrenched disadvantage is when someone experiences multigenerational poverty, and has not been supported (whether by government, services or people around them) to improve their circumstances.
- $3.3 million over three years to review emergency accommodation services and their suitability for children, and to conduct an independent evaluation of the 1800 RESPECT service.
- $8.3 million for the extension of the Local Sporting Champions program to support young Australians to participate in state, national and international sporting competitions.
- $8.5 million over four years to increase funding for the Regional Arts Fund to support cultural development in regional and remote communities.
This summary was written by the YACVic Policy team. If you have any questions or concerns, please email email@example.com.
- National Youth Commission Australia. A Renewed Commitment to Address Youth Homelessness and Housing: Inquiry into Youth Employment and Transitions [Internet]. 2022 May [cited 2023 May 15]. Available from: https://www.bing.com/search?q=national+youth+homelessness+strategy&cvid=3e892cd30e874f6488398b3e4aeee290&aqs=edge.0.0l9j69i11004.4752j0j4&FORM=ANAB01&PC=DCTS&ntref=1
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. Estimating Homelessness: Census. [Internet]. Australian Bureau of Statistics; 2023 Mar [cited 2023 May 9]. Available from: https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/housing/estimating-homelessness-census/latest-release#youth-experiencing-homelessness
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. Labour force, Australia. [Internet]. 2023 Mar [cited 2023 May 9]. Available from: https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/employment-and-unemployment/labour-force-australia/latest-release#underemployment