On Tuesday night, the Federal Government delivered an important 2022 Budget in the lead up to the May federal election.
The key aspects of the budget included big spending on health and regional Australia. In the third year of a global pandemic, for many in the nonprofit and charities sector, the spending does not go far enough in meeting the huge demand for their services and the needs of their communities.
Let’s begin with some good news for the sector
- There has been a positive change to DGR status for community foundations which will mean that up to 28 community foundations affiliated with Community Foundations Australia will be listed with DGR status until 30 June 2027.
- There is also an increase in spending on social impact investing, with social impact investment trials for vulnerable priority groups and youth at risk of homelessness as well as an increase for the National Housing and Finance Investment Corporation.
There is a big investment in health, as expected, in this year’s Budget to address the impacts of COVID 19 including:
- An investment of $3bn for the National Health and Suicide Prevention Plan. This includes a strong focus on youth mental health, preventative health initiatives and suicide prevention.
- A focus on rural health with funding of $296.5m including $74m for aeromedical and outreach services.
- A boost to medical research with support for ground-breaking medical research and clinical trials ($6.8bn over 4 years for Medical Research Future Fund( MRFF), National Health and Medical Research Council (NHRMC) and Biomedical Translation Fund (BTF).
Ending violence against women and children
The Government has committed $1.3 billion over the next six years toward a broad range of measures and programs that have been identified in the National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children. This includes $54.6 million over the next five years toward the Keeping Women Safe in their Homes program for women experiencing technology-based abuse.
However, most frontline services agree this is not enough to meet demand. Last year, Women’s Safety NSW estimated the sector needed $1 billion a year for frontline services alone. The Budget also failed to increase funding to First Nations frontline family violence prevention & legal services.
There is a mixed scorecard for the Budget on spending on the environment.
- As already announced, the Budget includes $1 billion for the Great Barrier reef for improving water quality, reef management and research which will be delivered through local communities, industries and traditional owners.
- There is an additional investment of $170 million for threatened species and habitat restoration and tree planting projects.
However, there is little else for environmental organisations to be happy with. Climate spending is expected to fall from $2bn next financial year to $1.9bn, $1.5bn and $1.3bn in the three years that follow. The fall represents a 35% annual cut over four years.
Regional Australia is a big winner in this year’s Budget with a commitment of $7.1 billion over 11 years for a new ‘Energy Security and Regional Development Plan’. This includes $2 billion for a new “Regional Accelerator Program”, bringing together existing schemes designed to improve skills, education, exports and supply chains in the regions. The Government has committed an additional $636.4 million to create an estimated 2,000 additional Indigenous ranger jobs by 2028 in regional and remote parts of the country.
For more detail on the budget, have a look at the Budget Overview: https://budget.gov.au/2022-23/content/overview/index.htm