The Albanese government has delivered its first budget. Read on for some sector-specific highlights, plus links to helpful resources.
Grant funding for regional Australia
The Government will continue to support regional development across Australia, investing $7.4 billion.
Community groups and local councils in regional and rural areas will be invited to seek support from the new Growing Regions Program (previously known as the Building Better Regions Fund), which will fund local infrastructure projects.
And through its new regional Precincts and Partnerships Program, the Government will work with states and local councils to invest in place-based projects that transform regional centres.
Through its Priority Community Infrastructure Program and its Investing in Our Communities Program, the Government will provide $1.4 billion for local community, sport and infrastructure projects across Australia.
Supporting First Nations peoples and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community organisations
In a government first, work is underway to deliver the government’s commitment to implement the Uluru Statement from the Heart in full.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community organisations will also receive funds to increase their capacity to deliver for First Nations people. The Government will provide more resourcing to these organisations working in justice, housing, health, community, arts and cultural heritage conservation.
The government has committed $99 million for justice initiatives, $100 million for housing and essential infrastructure in NT homelands and $314.8 million for First Nations health infrastructure and training.
Climate change & the environment
The term ‘climate change’ was mentioned 220 times during the budget delivery – a vast improvement over recent years (source: Climate Council).
To provide transparency on Australia’s climate progress, the government is investing $42.6 million to restore the Climate Change Authority, introducing an Annual Climate Change Statement to Parliament and increasing transparency around climate-related spending in the budget.
The Government will provide $105.2 million to support First Nations people to respond to climate change in their communities.
A new Torres Strait Climate Change Centre of Excellence will empower Torres Strait communities to design and deliver local adaptation and mitigation initiatives, including through the Climate Warriors training program.
The government has also committed $1.2 billion by 2023 to preserve and restore the Great Barrier Reef and $224.5 million in support for threatened native species.
Arts & culture
$37.5 million has been committed in new funding, including compensation to live event organisers for funds lost due to COVID-19-related event cancellations and funding for a range of arts and cultural training organisations including the Bundanon Trust and the National Institute of Dramatic Art.
The previous Creative Partnerships Australia program will be abolished, with its funding transferred to the Australia Council.
To continue to support mental health and well-being, this budget restores the 50 per cent loading for telehealth psychiatry services in regional and rural areas and expands the headspace network.
Significant funding has also been allocated to commence the roll-out of Urgent Care Clinics to reduce hospital pressure, to support the establishment of two world-class cancer centres and to support Australians living with Type 1 diabetes.
$2.5 billion over four years has been committed to funding more care for aging Australians and putting nurses back in nursing homes.
The full October 2022-2023 budget can be found here.
For additional highlights and commentary from the sector, check out Pro Bono’s article Mixed budget reaction from community services sector here.
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