This budget had some sweet wins and low lows.

The government reallocated funding towards housing for young people without homes, and women and children experiencing family violence. And in good news for students there’s some big changes to how HECs debts are indexed, meaning student debts will come down.

But we are hugely disappointed that – yet again – the government hasn’t taken the advice of its own Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee to substantially raise the rate of Government payments for people who need financial help. In Australia we also call this ‘Centrelink’.income supports, including Youth Allowance. We will continue to call for income supports to be raised above the poverty line to at least $80 a day.

Learn more about how the federal budget impacts you below.

Housing and homelessness

In a huge win for the national Home Time campaign, the government is redirecting $1b in housing for young people and women and children fleeing domestic violence, under the National Housing Infrastructure Facility (NHIF).

Almost 40,000 children and young people aged 15 to 24 are alone and experiencing homelessness. It gets worse: due to the lack of dedicated youth housing options, 44 per cent are still homeless even after receiving assistance.

Home Time is calling for 15,000 dedicated youth tenancies as part of the solution to ending homelessness. This $1b funding is a positive move towards meeting this national target.
$700m available as direct grants to community housing providers also makes new youth housing options more viable.

Over 120 organisations are part of Home Time (including YACVic). The campaign is calling on federal, state and territory governments to:

  1. Develop 15,000 dedicated youth tenancies for 16–24-year-olds.
  2. Provide linked support services to support young people’s transition to full independence.
  3. Address the rental gap to ensure viability for housing providers and landlords offering tenancies to young people who have been homeless.

Join the campaign.

The budget also includes $9.3b for a five-year federal and state housing and homelessness agreement, the new National Agreement on Social Housing and Homelessness. While this is not new money, we are pleased it commits more of the total funding envelope ($400 million each year) towards homelessness programs.

The budget also includes $1.9b over five years to increase Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) by 10 per cent. On average, those eligible will receive an extra $9.40 a week. And we know many more renters are doing it tough.

With national medium rents at a record high of $627 per week, and rental vacancies at a record low of 0.7 per cent, much more is needed to ensure young people have stable and safe homes.

To end youth homelessness, and fully address the scale youth housing insecurity, we call on the federal government to develop a standalone child and youth homelessness and housing plan.

See what the Homelessness Sector says about the budget.

Cost of living

The federal budget delivered little in the way of meaningful support for young people during a cost-of-living crisis.

Currently, 0% of rentals are affordable to a single person on Youth Allowance or Job Seeker. But the government has neglected to raise Government payments for people who need financial help. In Australia we also call this ‘Centrelink’.income support payments, driving further rental stress and homelessness.

YACVic has been advocating for government to #RaisetheRate of income support above the poverty line, to at least $80 a day.

Income support should provide people with baseline financial security. But as long as the government keeps the rate for income support remains below the poverty line, this is impossible.

People on income support payments experience the highest level of financial stress in our community. And for a second year in a row the government’s own Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee has called these payments seriously inadequate, recommending raising the base rates of Jobseeker and Youth Allowance as an immediate priority. The federal government has chosen not to take the advice of their own experts.

Other cost of living announcements include:

  • Stage 3 tax cuts: a person with a taxable income between $50,000 and $120,000 will receive a tax cut of $804 come July 1 under the revised stage 3 changes. Use the government’s Tax Cut Calculator.
  • Medicare: the government will raise the Medicare levy low-income threshold from $24,276 to $26,000 for singles.
  • Income support eligibility updated: higher rate of JobSeeker for people unable to work more than 0-14 hours a week. The Australian Council of Social Services reports only 4, 700 people will benefit from this measure.

From 1 July 2024, the government will provide every Australian with a one-off payment of $300 off their energy bills, and eligible small businesses will receive $325 on their power bills. While this will provide welcome relief for some, it does not address cost-of-living pressures related to supermarket price gouging or insufficient income support.

While any measures to support cost of living pressures are welcome, the government must urgently #RaisetheRate, so young people can afford rising rents and avoid homelessness. Learn more and join the Raise the Rate campaign.

Mental health

The government is investing $588.5 million over eight years to establish a free, national, low-intensity digital mental health service.

We hope this investment will enable more young people – particularly those with access barriers like living in rural and regional areas – to get mental support early and free of charge.

We are looking forward to learning more about this as it rolls out, including, how will young people be involved in service design? How inclusive and accessible will it be for young people who are disabled, First Nations, LGBTQIA+, or from non-English speaking backgrounds?

There’s also $7.1 million over four years to build and support the lived experience peer mental health workforce, including:

  • the establishment of a national professional association for A ‘peer worker’ is a person who can support you because they’ve had a similar life experience. For example, a mental health peer worker is someone who has a mental illness themselves and can support other people with mental illnesses.peer workers
  • delivery of a workforce census
  • exploration of further training pathways.

Other key mental health funding investments include:

  • $71.7m over four years to provide When services work together to support a young person.wraparound care for people with severe and/or complex needs in primary care settings.
  • $29.7 million over three years to improve child and youth mental health services through uplifting workforce capability and co-designing new models of care.
  • $3.6 million in 2024–25 to provide targeted mental health support to emergency service workers.

Current investment in youth mental health doesn’t match the urgent and rising need. The budget clearly omitted direct investment into youth-specific mental health promotion and prevention. It also omitted specialist crisis youth support services.

Prevention United have been calling for a National Centre for Youth Wellbeing. The proposed centre would lead Australia’s youth mental health promotion and sit alongside the existing mental healthcare system. Going forward, we hope to see an increased focus on such innovative prevention and early intervention initiatives.

See what the mental health sector says about the budget:

Family violence

The government announced investments to support the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-32.

$925.2m over five years to fund the Leaving Violence Program, providing up to $5,000 in financial support to victim-survivors. This includes up to $1,500 in cash, and $3,500 as a pre-paid card for goods and services.

While it does not address economic security, this is a crucial investment for immediate safety to help victim survivors meet the costs of leaving a violent relationship. And we are pleased temporary visa holders are also eligible for the payment.

We are disappointed young people under 18 leaving a violent situation are not eligible for this payment. People experiencing violence outside A partner in a relationship like a marriage, couple who lives together, or dating.intimate partner violence have also been overlooked – for example, violence from a sibling or family member.

There’s long overdue investment of $8.6 million to Family Violence Prevention Legal Services to provide an urgent funding injection for legal assistance services to sustain an overstretched workforce. But compared to what’s needed, the investment is modest. It provides no guarantee of funding beyond 2025, this jeopardises staff job security and puts young people’s lives at risk.

We’re also concerned there’s no new funding allocated to frontline, specialist, family, domestic and sexual violence services. The government must urgently invest in specialist, age-appropriate legal and non-legal services to support young people as victim survivors in their own right.

Learn more about the family violence reforms YACVic is calling for.

Other programs include:

  • $4.3 million over two years to commission Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) to further build the evidence base on pathways into and out of family, domestic and sexual violence.
  • $1.3 million for a rapid expert review of targeted prevention approaches to violence against women.
  • Expanded eligibility for the single parent payment, increasing the eligibility age from children up to 14 years old (previously limited at children up to eight years old).
Rural and regional

We’re disappointed this budget offers very little targeted support for young people living in rural and regional areas.

To support agriculture, the government will invest:

  • $1m over two years for a skilled agricultural work liaison pilot to attract graduates to work in agriculture.
  • $0.5m over two years to continue the AgCAREERSTART pilot to encourage young people to consider a career in agriculture.
Climate change and disaster resilience

The government has announced $22.7b investment for the Future Made in Australia policy, towards production credits and measures to promote clean energy technologies like critical minerals and green hydrogen.

There’s also $519.1m over eight years in the Future Drought Fund for programs to help farms and regional communities prepare for the next drought and build climate resilience. This includes partnering with First Nations communities to support connection to Country through drought and climate risk management.

Other investments supporting climate resilience for farmers and regional communities:

  • $63.8m over ten years to support farmers to reduce agricultural emissions, making them more sustainable.
  • $174.6m over six years in the National Water Grid Fund to enhance water security and climate resilience in rural communities.

Additional investments:

  • $32.4m over four years to establish regulatory frameworks and bilateral instruments to better support heavy industry to reduce emissions and meet Paris Agreement commitments.
  • $399.1m over five years supporting the Net Zero Economy initiative, supporting workers impacted by the necessary transition away from fossil fuels.
  • $121m for the Environmental Protection Agency.

We are disappointed to see no funding tied to household electrification or energy efficient improvements. And no funding to ensure progression of critical environmental law reform.

Climate change poses significant challenges to young people’s wellbeing and health – today and tomorrow. Climate action is a priority for young people. Yet we’re still seeing government invest in fossil fuel companies.

The actions taken now will directly impact on the scale and severity of climate change. This is something our government can directly influence and is largely dependent on how fast we phase out fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas.

We need a real commitment from federal government to phase out fossil fuels and urgent action to develop disaster resilience strategies together with the people who will be most impacted by climate change, including young people.

See what the environment sector says about the budget.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

CW: discussion of First Nations young people in prison.

We are pleased the government has allocated $5.9 million over two years to fund the new National Commissioner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Young People.

Announced earlier this year, the National Commissioner is a critical step towards tackling the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in out-of-home care and youth detention. Learn more.

As part of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap Priority Reforms, there was modest funding in this budget for education:

  • $29.1m over four years to support National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Corporation and SNAICC to partner with Government on issues impacting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in education.
  • $18.2m over four years to develop a new First Nations education policy and engage with First Nations stakeholders.
  • $2.4m over three years to finalise and implement the First Nations Teacher Strategy.

Australia’s police imprison Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people 29 times more than non-Indigenous children and young people. We are hugely disappointed there’s no significant new investment for early intervention that keeps Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in community, not the youth justice system.

While there’s $76.2m over five years to implement a new voluntary prison to employment transition program for First Nations people aged 15 years and over, this does nothing to prevent entry into the justice system.

Other new investments:

  • $20.2m over four years to address the backlog of Native Title claims in the Federal Court of Australia and the National Native Title Tribunal.
  • $22 million over three years to establish a First Nations Digital Support Hub and a network of digital mentors to increase access to online services and improve digital literacy and online safety.
  • $53.8 million over four years for First Nations language revival, including:
    • to establish two new First Nations language centres
    • to increase funding for existing language centres
    • for community language learning to increase the number of First Nations language speakers.

Outside the Northern Territory, the budget includes no new investments in housing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The government has allocated $12.8 million to extend the Indigenous Youth Connection to Culture program. Local activities in 12 communities will support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to improve mental health and reduce suicides.

With such small funding to support self-determination and the capacity of the Aboriginal Community Controlled Sector, this budget falls well below what’s needed. To support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, there’s a critical need for investment in frontline, tailored, place-based and culturally specific services.

See what Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander orgs say about the budget:

Outside the Northern Territory, the budget includes no new investments in housing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The government has allocated $12.8 million to extend the Indigenous Youth Connection to Culture program. Local activities in 12 communities will support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to improve mental health and reduce suicides.

With such small funding to support self-determination and the capacity of the Aboriginal Community Controlled Sector, this budget falls well below what’s needed. To support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, there’s a critical need for investment in frontline, tailored, place-based and culturally specific services.

See what Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander orgs say about the budget:

·       SNAICC

·       Djirra


As nearly 1 million Australians have endometriosis, we are pleased $49.1 million over four years is being invested to support people who have endometriosis and other complex gynaecological conditions such as chronic pelvic pain and polycystic ovarian syndrome. The funding will allow for extended consultation times (45+ mins) and increased rebates to be added to the Medicare Benefits Schedule.

This budget also includes:

  • A one-year freeze on the maximum amount that Australians with a Medicare card can pay for medicineon the national Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). This means Australians with a Medicare card won’t pay more than $31.60 for a PBS prescription.
  • $227m over three years to fund an additional 29 Medicare Urgent Care Clinics. This includes additional support to clinics in regional and rural Australia.
  • $3.7 million over four years from 2024–25 to subsidise additional devices under the Insulin Pump Program for financially disadvantaged Australians aged under 21 years with type 1 diabetes.
  • $47.5 million over four years from 2024–25 to expand Healthdirect Australia to provide national and state‐based virtual health services to assist consumers access the most appropriate care.

In a cost-of-living crisis, many young people are choosing between paying for rent, groceries, or medical bills.

We need an increase in Medicare rebates and more bulk-billed GPs trained across Australia, including rural and regional areas, to provide vital early intervention for mental and physical health and relieve cost-of-living pressures.

See what Australian General Practitioner representatives say about the budget.

Tertiary students

In some big news, there’s changes to how HECS debts are When the price of something is updated.indexed to avoid debts overtaking wage growth. Previously, HECS debt has been indexed each year by the Consumer Price Index (CPI, i.e. the cost of living).

Now, HECS will be indexed by whichever is lower between CPI or the Wage Price Index (WPI, i.e. the rate of wage growth). This will be backdated to last year, bringing down your 2023-24 HECS debt too, and is expected to wipe out $3bn in student debt.

There’s also been a step towards ending placement poverty.

Starting July 2025 student teachers, nurses, midwives and social workers will receive $319.50/week during their mandatory placements. YACVic was proud to support Australian Services Union advocacy that led to this progress.

With many students spending months completing full-time unpaid placements, these payments will reduce some financial strain, and values the essential workforce contributions students make.

But the payment is means-tested and benchmarked to the single Austudy rate, which is still below the poverty line. And the payment excludes many other degrees doing significant unpaid placements – like allied health and medical students.

To end placement poverty, we need to raise payments above the poverty line, and extend the scheme to all sectors with mandatory placements as a condition of study.

Other funding includes:

  • $350.3m over four years to expand access to university enabling and preparation programs through a new FEE-FREE Uni Ready Courses program.
  • $18.7m over four years to introduce a National Higher Education Code to Prevent and Respond to Gender-based Violence.
  • $19.4m over two years to establish a National Student Ombudsman, which will provide a single, national mechanism to address sexual harassment and assault on university campuses. Learn more about what this much-needed and long called for intervention might mean for students’ safety.
  • Higher education providers will be required to direct a minimum of 40 per cent of their Student Services and Amenities Fee revenue to student-led organisations from 1 January 2025.

The Government will provide a small $70.3m over five years to continue support for initiatives to improve education outcomes for students, with modest inclusions of:

  • $4m over two years to support Together for Humanity to deliver initiatives aimed at strengthening intercultural and interfaith understanding. 
  • $4.2m over four years to support the Australian Schools Anti-Bullying Collective to deliver national bullying prevention initiatives.

There are currently high levels of racism and discrimination in schools. We need strong, decisive investment from government, and action from schools to  address and respond to all forms of discrimination. They should make particular effort to address the higher impacts on First Nations young people, LGBTQIA+ young people and young people from non-English speaking backgrounds, including refugee and asylum seekers.

Youth engagement

$1.7m over four years has been allocated to deliver initiatives in the government’s youth engagement strategy, Engage! A Strategy to include young people in the decisions we make.

We are pleased that through the Office for Youth, government recognises the value of youth participation in decisions on issues that matter to young people. We hope to see stronger investment in this strategy as it rolls out.

Alcohol and other drugs (AOD)

No significant new money was noted to support alcohol and other drug prevention, harm reduction and intervention programs. The following received ongoing funding:

  • $41.6m over two years to continue support for the Good Sport Program – alcohol and other drug treatment services in areas of identified need, and foetal alcohol spectrum disorder diagnostic and support services in remote and rural regions.
  • $5m will continue to fund FARE's Every Moment Matters campaign, to support alcohol-free pregnancies and safe breastfeeding across Australia.
Youth justice

Community legal centres are facing chronic underfunding. Yet this budget only makes the inadequate investment of $44.1m for legal assistance services. $9.3m of this will go to community legal centres, and $8.6m to Family Violence Prevention Legal Services.

These are critical services that provide free and accessible legal services to those experiencing disadvantage, discrimination and hardship. The lack of investment is disheartening.

We hope the government takes seriously the sector’s call for an urgent injection of an extra $125m in the 2024-25 financial year.

Read what the community legal sector has to say.


The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a vital public service for Australians. With over 50 per cent of NDIS participants aged 25 or under, disabled young people’s rights, voices and needs must be heard and upheld.

Though only a small percentage of disabled people have access to NDIS, the government has again focused on NDIS sustainability. This time, through initial steps to respond to the Independent NDIS Review’s findings.

The NDIS will receive $468.7m, including:

  • $160.7m over four years to the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.
  • $129.8m over two years to design, consult and respond to the findings of the Independent NDIS Review.
  • $20m over two years to design and consult work on reforms to help participants and people with a disability navigate services.

Other investments:

  • $253.6m over five years to reform disability employment services – including funding to:
    • implement a new specialist disability employment program to replace the existing Disability Employment Services program.
    • establish a Disability Employment Centre of Excellence.
  • $7.9m over four years for initiatives to support disabled people to access and participate in the creative arts.

We are concerned there’s no funding for the Disability Royal Commission Recommendations, except for Disability Employment Services. We encourage the government to involve disabled young people in consultation and co-design of the proposed Disability Employment Centre of Excellence. We also urge that meaningfully addressing the systemic barriers of ableism and discrimination frequently experienced by disabled job seekers is fundamental to the Centre’s work.

We are disappointed there was no increase to the Disability Support Pension, despite the cost of living and housing crises especially impacting disabled young people who cannot work. These young people will not benefit from the tax cuts, and there is no specific plan to ensure any increase in housing stock is affordable and accessible for disabled people.

We welcome funding provided to Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA) for systemic advocacy. However, there’s no additional money for the critically underfunded individual advocacy sector. This undermines the human rights of disabled young people.

YACVic and YDAS share CYDA’s concerns about the budget.


Federal funding for Victorian transport projects include:

  • $3.3b to North-East Link.
  • $100m over four years from 2025-26 for an Active Transport Fund to help build and update bicycle and walking paths across Australia.
  • $12m for the Bridgewater Road and Portland Ring Road intersection upgrade.
  • $540m for the Australian Rail Track Corporation to invest in the interstate rail network, including $150 million for the Maroona to Portland Line Upgrade.

Unfortunately, the government did not significantly fund transport in this budget.

Government must continue to invest in transport infrastructure in rural and regional areas. This would mean young people have reliable and safe transport to access essential health and welfare services, get education and employment opportunities, and connect with community.

Gender equity

The Government has delivered the first national strategy to achieve gender equality.

Working for Women: A Strategy for Gender Equality will guide efforts to shift persistent attitudes and stereotypes that drive gender inequality.

The strategy references trans and gender diverse (TGD) people, but it does not fully include them as people who experience gender inequality in their own right.

TGD people are disproportionately discriminated against, resulting in higher rates of suicidality and depression.

TGD people also have unique health needs which may not fit into a male/female binary. We urgently need a strategy which invests in the provision of inclusive health services for all LGBTIQA+ people.

There’s also $6.5m in 2024-25 for a pilot of age assurance technology to protect children and young people from online harms and harmful content, like pornography and other age-restricted online services.

While these protections are important, the government should support this program with stronger legislation which protects young people from the spread of disinformation and discrimination online, particularly for trans and gender diverse young people.

Migrant and refugee communities

We are disappointed to see $57.2 million over four years ‘saved’ by ceasing funding for new scholarships for domestic and international students under the Destination Australia program.

In positive news, temporary visa holders now able to access the family violence payment.

In other news for young people:

  • The new Mobility Arrangement for Talented Early-professionals Scheme (MATES) will provide graduate pathways for 3,000 Indian graduates, aged 18-30, to work in targeted fields of study and work in Australia for up to two years. 
  • A modest $27m over three years to extend targeted supported for refugees and migrants, including the Youth Transition Support services to assist refugee and migrant youth to access education, employment and government services.

Read a broader analysis of what the budget means for asylum seeker and refugee communities.

Employment, skills and training
  • $88.8m over three years to boost the number of tradies and constructions workers, including 20,000 additional free TAFE places. This helps close the national skills gap by building the workforce needed to increase housing supply.
  • $1.8m over two years to help migrants get jobs for their skills, by:
    • streamlining migrant skills assessments for around 1,900 potential migrants with comparable qualifications who want to work in Australia’s construction and housing sector
    • prioritising the processing of around 2,600 Trades Recognition Australia skills assessments in targeted occupations. 
  • To address disadvantage experienced by unpaid carers, $18.6m over five years will support Carer Payment recipients through increased flexibility to undertake work, study and volunteering activities. Learn more.
  • Young people working in the care and support sector will benefit from award wage increases for aged care workers, early childhood education and care workers. How much wages will rise, and the total investment from government, have not yet been confirmed.
  • $39.9m over five years for the development of policies and capability to support the adoption and use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology in a safe and responsible manner.
  • $8.6m in 2024–25 for Revive Live to support Australian live music venues and festivals showcasing Australian bands and artists, including to improve accessibility and inclusion at live music performances