A measured budget for Mayo

15 May 2024
Federal Member for Mayo cropped

There was a lot to like in the Budget, from cost-of-living measures to returned Mayo Infrastructure Funding. It was a measured budget – with a lot for Mayo and something for everyone, well almost, our elderly once again did not receive the necessary allocation of Aged Home Care packages.

I’m pleased that after raising the concerns of our community directly with the Treasurer, the Federal Government has listened and included $220 million in infrastructure funding in Mayo. The return of $120 million for the Mount Barker and Verdun interchange upgrades and $100 million for the South-Eastern Freeway upgrades is necessary and welcomed.

Australians are experiencing financial difficulty following increases in rents, mortgages, groceries, fuel, and energy. The Budget addresses some of these pressures.

I therefore welcome the following relief measures:

• Energy bill rebates - $300 per household and $325 for small businesses.

• Freezing of Social Security deeming rates.

• Increase of 10% in Commonwealth Rent Assistance.

• HECS-HELP debt relief worth $3 billion to 3 million Australian students.

• Debt relief for VET student loan program and Australian Apprenticeship support loan recipients.

• Amended stage 3 tax cuts which will partly address bracket creep and increase labour supply – in Mayo 76,000 taxpayers will receive an average tax cut of $1,475, with around 65,000 taxpayers (84%) better off.

• Increased Medicare Levy income thresholds for low-income earners.

• $1.1 million in funding to CHOICE for three years to produce quarterly price comparison reports to give Australians better insight into grocery pricing.

There is a lot in the Budget for students, young people and families but I'm concerned that the Government has again failed to properly address the need for care services in the home for older people. This budget's commitment for Home Care Packages is inadequate and will not meet the needs of older Australians. On 31 December 2023 there were more than 50,000 people waiting for Home Care Packages, compared with 28,665 on 30 June 2023. Waiting lists have already grown from 1-3 months in February 2023 to 9-12 months for an elderly person who has already been assessed and approved for level 3 care, and 6-9 months for a level 4 Home Care Package.

I appreciate the commitment of $65.6 million over four years from 2024-25 to attract and retain our highly valued and much-needed aged care workers and improve outcomes through aged care workforce programs, and key investment in training for aged care and primary care workers in dementia and palliative care.

The Government has maintained its commitment to the Murray Darling Basin with $27 million to expand the Resilient Rivers Water Infrastructure Program to facilitate water recovery activities. A great outcome for the environment.
I am pleased that the Government has committed to a trial of age verification for online technologies to prevent children from accessing pornography and other harmful materials. I urged the Government in November 2023 to get on with doing so to protect our children.

While additional detail is not yet available it appears the Government has committed to continue funding critical alcohol and other drug programs in SA regions, which I was pleased to initially secure in March 2022.

Other health commitments include 29 urgent care clinics costing $227 million; we are yet to see specific locations but I will push for one site for our community.

I am delighted to see $11.6 million over two years from 2024-25 to continue support for the great work of Men’s Sheds, and men’s health research and data collection in line with the National Men’s Health Strategy 2020-30. $49.1 million is being invested over four years from 2024-25 to support women with endometriosis and chronic pelvic pain with longer consultations.

Lastly, I’m pleased that the Government budgeted $3.4 billion for new or amended PBS listed medications and $484 million to freeze the price on PBS medicine. This will change and potentially save so many lives.

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