On Tuesday night, the ALP Federal Government delivered its second budget. With cost-of-living pressures, high levels of inflation, the challenges of climate change and entrenched community disadvantage, this Budget needed to deliver on multiple fronts.
So, just what does the Budget mean for Australia’s for-purpose sector? We’ve done the digging for you with this year’s wrap-up.
A new approach to tackling entrenched community disadvantage
Tackling inter-generational disadvantage and improving child and family well-being, the Government has invested $199.8 million in new initiatives. The strong focus lies with place-based approaches, engaging with philanthropy and promoting social impact investment. Key Budget commitments include:
- $7.8 million over two years to develop a whole-of-government Framework to Address Community Disadvantage.
- $11.6 million over 3 years for a Social Enterprise Development Initiative, providing grants, online education and mentoring to eligible organisations. The aim here is to build their capability to access capital and the social impact investing market.
- $100.0 million over 5 years from 2024–25 to set up a social impact investment Outcomes Fund.
- A new strategy to partner with philanthropy through the Investment Dialogue on Australia’s Children.
Supporting First Nations peoples and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community organisations
The Budget also concentrates on First Nations education and health, committing $150.5 million to strengthen educational outcomes and protect traditional knowledge. $38.4 million will also be spent on high quality, culturally appropriate education for First Nations children in remote areas.
Skills are once again high on the agenda, with $46 million dedicated to Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations to deliver foundation training for First Nations people.
In addition, the Government confirmed an extension of the Closing the Gap Outcomes and Evidence Fund by two years to 31 December 2026. This fund aims to provide targeted grant funding to Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisations, to deliver better, co-designed methods of service delivery for First Nations people.
To address family, domestic and sexual violence, the Budget announced an investment of $194 million for Australia’s first dedicated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Action Plan, along with development of a standalone First Nations National Plan for Family Safety.
Climate change & the environment
The Budget also featured a range of investments to address climate change. While the big-ticket investments have been well covered, some of the announcements relevant to you and your communities include:
- $118.5 million to help community groups, NGOs, councils, and First Nations groups carry out projects to clean up and restore local urban rivers and waterways.
- $211.7 million to establish the Thriving Suburbs Program to provide grants for community infrastructure in urban and suburban communities through a competitive grants program.
- A tax relief initiative – the Small Business Energy Incentive -supporting up to 3.8 million businesses to make investments like electrifying their heating and cooling systems, installing batteries and upgrading to high‑efficiency electrical goods.
In another major focus area, we’ve seen a highlight on health, with Medicare reform providing incentives for access to bulk-billing and an additional $358.5m for eight more Medicare urgent care clinics. This will take the total to 58 clinics around the country.
In the mental health and suicide prevention space, the Budget will invest $586.9 million.
The 2023–24 Budget continues reforms to mental health support by addressing workforce shortages, extending critical services, addressing urgent gaps and laying the groundwork for future reform.
Arts & culture
Last but never least, arts and culture. An extra $949.5 million will be allocated over the next four years, including $286 million to restore core arts funding.
The big ticket items include establishing Creative Australia, Music Australia, Writers Australia and a Creative Workplaces centre to support arts workers. The budget will also enable creation of a First Nations-led body dedicated to First Nations work and sharing the National Gallery of Australia’s collection with regional and suburban galleries.
The full budget can be accessed here: https://budget.gov.au/content/overview/index.htm
The Women’s Budget Statement is here: https://budget.gov.au/content/womens-statement/index.htm
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