It was hard not to notice how few parliamentarians gave Treasurer Jim Chalmers a standing ovation after his Federal Budget speech on Tuesday. I would have been inclined to stay seated too.

Despite the references to ‘high aspirations’ and ‘big ambitions’ this year’s Budget, in my humble opinion, failed to hit any high notes.

Most of us have been desperate to know if there is any end in sight to the cost-of-living challenges we are all facing and if inflation will ease any time soon.

It is good to know that the Government have their eyes firmly planted on supermarkets, monitoring the cost of food, and increasing competition to bring down the consistently rising price of day-to-day necessities.  It is also a relief to learn that inflation could return to target as early as next year.

Let’s take a look at this Budget’s initiatives.

Cost of Living Measures

  • An energy rebate of $300 per household and $325 for eligible businesses will be provided in 2024/25, implemented via a quarterly reduction to your bill.
  • The Pharmaceuticals Benefit Scheme co-payment will be frozen.
  • Indexation of student loans will be capped by either the Consumer Price Index or Average Weekly Ordinary Time Earnings, whichever is lower.


  • ‘Stage 3’ tax cuts from 2024/25 will reduce the 19% tax rate to 16% and the 32.5% tax rate to 30% for low-income earners.
  • The reduction in the lowest tax rate will result in an increase to the Seniors and Pensioner tax offset (SAPTO) income thresholds, as well as the effective tax-free thresholds.
  • For middle to high income earners the 37% tax rate threshold will increase from $120,000 to $135,000 and the 45% tax rate threshold will increase from $180,000 to $190,000.

Social Security

  • The Centrelink deeming rates were frozen at 0.25% and 2.25% to help pensioners through cost-of-living increases caused by COVID. This deeming rate freeze was due to end on 30 June 2024 but has now been extended for 12 months.
  • There will be a progressive increase to paid Parental Leave in 2024/25 and 2025/26.
  • Carers will now be able take a leave of absence from their care duties for 100 hours over 4 weeks without their payments being affected. This must be for employment reasons and the fine print tells us payments will be suspended for 6 months if employment goes over the maximum hours.
  • There will be a 10% increase to Commonwealth Rental Assistance.
  • Additional funding will be directed to resolving Services Australia’s claims backlogs and service issues.


  • Super will now be paid on Government funded maternity leave when a baby is born or adopted into a family. This will be effective as of 1 July 2025 when the superannuation guarantee rate will be 12%.
  • Payday superannuation was announced in the 2023/24 Federal Budget, requiring employers to pay their employees’ super guarantee entitlements at the same time as their salary and wages rather than on a quarterly basis. This will be effective from 1 July 2026.

Aged Care

  • Additional funding is being provided to deliver a range of key aged care reforms and to continue to implement recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. Funds will be directed towards the release of 24,100 additional home care packages in 2024/25 and an increase in the Award Wages for Aged Care workers.

These measures are welcomed but are a drop in the ocean as far as helping to resolve the financial pressures Australians are under.

As many of you know my business provides advice to individuals living with a disability and their families.  I am disappointed that the only mention of the National Disability Insurance Scheme was a reference to the $469 million that will be invested in making sure no one is ‘exploiting’ the system.

I quote the amazing Michael J Fox when I say ‘the people living with the condition are the experts’. I personally think a witch hunt is fraught with danger and I would love to see more support for our most vulnerable Australians as opposed to the risk that NDIS funding could be withdrawn by those who are not true experts. But I digress.

Jim Chalmers talks about prosperity while quietly noting that 870,000 Australians are currently receiving social security benefits and 2.9 million individuals earn under $45,000 per year. He also mentions that unemployment will rise to 4.5% next year and a $28.3 billion deficit is projected for 2024/25 but hopes we will believe in the potential of the future.

It appears that not even the Treasurer can solve the pressing financial issues of the Nation.

I guess we’ll just have to start in our own backyards.

Until next time.