The Albanese Government has delivered an economically and socially responsible first budget, given the global economic volatility and national economic challenges we are facing such as slowing GDP, persistent inflation, rising interest rates and falling real wages.

This budget includes necessary repair measures given the structural budget pressures that have been inherited and includes $28.5 billion in budget improvements. While exercising spending restraint, the government’s new spending is focused on high priority, targeted investments, which will relieve some cost-of-living pressures on Australian families and help drive a stronger and cleaner economy.

Following the legislated emissions reduction target of 43 per cent by 2030, it is pleasing to see the government is acting on climate change and funding initiatives to generate cleaner and cheaper energy. It is also investing in priority Australian industries through the National Reconstruction Fund and nation building infrastructure projects, which will generate more skilled jobs in Australia.

The government’s strong commitment to gender equality will be given effect by funding initiatives to improve women’s economic participation and close the gender pay gap, which will also drive greater productivity and fairness in the workforce.

Housing affordability, aged-care, health and education and training also receive attention in the budget. A reduction in the cost of medicines, the creation of 480,000 fee- free TAFE places, 20,000 additional university places for disadvantaged students, and 30,000 affordable and social homes housing are all welcome. However more action is required in the future to assist the most disadvantaged workers and communities in Australia, as cost of living pressures are disproportionately affecting their lives.

The budget recognises that changes are required to the workplace relations system to strengthen job security and reinvigorate workplace bargaining so that better pay outcomes are achieved.

The Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill which was introduced to Parliament by the Albanese Government on 28 October 2022 will deliver these sorely needed workplace reforms. The following analysis provides more details about the budget initiatives across the range of portfolios that impact on our membership.

Jill McCabe CEO Professionals Australia