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May Budget Newsletter 2022


This week the Albanese Government delivered their first Budget. My team and I were in the lock up pouring over the Budget papers and I wanted to keep you up to date with what the Budget means for you, for Mackellar and for our nation.

I believe this Budget takes positive steps toward gender equality, funding the renewable energy transition, cracking down on multinational tax avoidance and tackling our national skills shortage. However, it does not go far enough on the environment with far more funding needed to halt extinctions and prevent further habitat loss.

There is also a lack of support for health and mental health services, and the Budget provides very little support for our small business community. I also believe there is more that can be done in the short term to reduce energy prices.

You’ll find a full summary of what I believe are the hits and the misses in the Government’s first Budget below and you can view the full Budget Papers here. I would welcome your feedback on the Budget. Please email me at [email protected] 

Dr Sophie


What the Budget means for Mackellar

Before we look at the Budget from a national perspective, I want to address what the Budget means for Mackellar.

It was disappointing news that the Government has withdrawn funding for the Wakehurst Parkway. In my meeting with the Minister for Infrastructure, she made it clear that the $75 million in funding that was announced before the 2022 election to support the Beaches Link Tunnel was cancelled due to the NSW State Government deferring this project. It is not possible for money allocated for specific projects to be repurposed.

In the meantime, however, the NSW Government has allocated money to the Council to start flood mitigation works for the Wakehurst Parkway. This will go a long way to dramatically cutting the number of days the road is closed. I will continue to work with the Council, and the NSW and Federal Governments to push for the best outcomes for our road and transport needs.

What the Budget means for climate change

I welcome the move to begin quantifying the costs of climate change to our economy in this Budget. With continued flooding emergencies causing billions in damage and placing more pressure on inflation, it’s time to act. $20 billion allocated for Rewiring the Nation lays the ground work for Australia to become a renewable energy superpower. The faster we can bring more renewables - the cheapest form of energy – online, the quicker we can realise lower energy costs. However, we continue to waste taxpayer funds on subsidies for fossil fuel companies.

What’s good:

·       $20 billion for the Rewiring the Nation Corporation

·       $20.8 million for drought readiness, resilience, and preparedness

·       $47.1 million in additional funding for the Climate Change Authority

·       $500 million for electric vehicles, including EV infrastructure and tax cuts for EV buyers

What’s not so good:

·       More subsidies for fossil fuel companies, including $1.9 billion to support a gas export hub in the Northern Territory

·       Not nearly enough funding for climate adaptation programs to help our communities prepare for future climate disasters

What the Budget means for the cost of living

I’m sure many of you have been feeling the pinch of inflation through rising energy prices, grocery costs and increasing rent and interest rates. The Budget forecasts that inflation will peak at nearly 8% later this year, and energy costs could increase over 50% next year. We can and should be doing more to reduce the cost of gas by keeping more of our gas right here in Australia. There are, however, some fantastic initiatives to make childcare cheaper and medicines more affordable, which should help millions of Australians. 

What’s good:

·       $4.7 billion for cheaper childcare, helping approximately 5,800 families in Mackellar

·       Several measures to increase housing supply and affordability 

·       A commitment to cap medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme to $30

What’s not so good:

·       No commitment to tackle rising gas prices through a price cap or export cap

·       No extra funding for rental assistance

What the Budget means for women 

This is a positive Budget for women. I support the Government’s plans for cheaper childcare as well as plans to extend the paid parental leave scheme. However, more can be done to close the gender pay gap, which has worsened in 2022, according to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency. The Government should include superannuation payments in the paid parental leave scheme to help close the super gap, while it should also support wage increases for female-dominated sectors such as childcare.

What’s good:

·       $4.7 billion for cheaper childcare

·       $531.6 million to extend the paid parental leave scheme from 18 weeks to 26 weeks

·       $42.5 million for the implementation of Respect@Work, including Working Women’s Centres

What’s not so good:

·       No commitment to include superannuation payments in the paid parental leave scheme

·       Lack of support for wage increases for childcare workers

·       Cut to the IVF assistance package

What the Budget means for the environment

Despite the Government’s promise to do more for the environment, this Budget does not do enough.  While the increased funding for the Great Barrier Reef and threatened species protection is welcomed, it is a drop in the ocean compared to what the experts say is needed. The experts say we need at least $1.7 billion a year in funding to stop the decline and degradation of our environment. I call on the Government to start phasing out fossil fuel subsidies and start phasing in additional spending to protect and restore our environment.

What’s good:

·       $9.8 million in funding for the Environmental Defenders Office and Environmental Justice Australia

·       $4 million over four years for an Inspector-General of Animal Welfare

What’s not so good:

·       Only $224.5 million over four years for our threatened species – experts say we need to invest $1.7 billion a year

·       Only $204 million for the Great Barrier Reef, including only $20 million for climate change adaptation

What the Budget means for health

The lack of support for primary health care, prevention, and Medicare – all currently in crisis – is concerning. This Budget does very little to address the crisis facing our GPs or public hospitals. It also leaves the National Obesity Strategy unfunded – we must prioritise funding preventative health measures in the next Budget. A positive, however, is the Government’s commitment to funding the National Climate, Health, and Wellbeing Strategy, which I support. The Government’s $314.8 million commitment to programs to help close the gap for First Nations people’s health and well-being is also welcomed.

What’s good:

·       $1.4 billion over four years to make medicines cheaper

·       $235 million for 50 urgent care clinics

·       $3.4 million to develop the Nation Health and Climate Change Strategy

What’s not so good:

·       No increase in Commonwealth funding for public hospitals

·       No increase in the Medicare rebate to alleviate our GP crisis

·       No funding for the National Obesity Strategy

As a GP, I am alarmed this Budget does very little to increase access to mental health services across the country, however, the $203.7 million allocated to implement mental health and well-being services for students is one positive. I’ll be pressing the Albanese Government to rectify this lack of support for mental health services in next year’s Budget and as a priority, pursue the Government's assessment of the Better Access Program and extend the 10 Medicare-supported psychology sessions beyond December 31.

What’s good:

·       $203.7 million to support mental health and well-being services in schools

What’s not so good:

·       No commitment to the additional 10 Medicare-supported psychology sessions 

·       Not enough funding to expand access to mental health services, particularly supporting the ‘missing middle’.

What the Budget means for small business

This Budget largely ignores small business owners. Despite many businesses struggling to survive throughout the pandemic, there is little direct support for small businesses, and many small business owners will be disappointed at the Government’s decision not to extend the instant asset write-off. In addition, it appears funding to tackle cybercrime has been cut. However, I do support the Government’s plan to invest $62.6m over three years to support small businesses to invest in energy efficiency equipment.

What’s good:

·       $62.6 million in energy efficiency grants for small & medium enterprises

·       $921.7 million for fee-free TAFE to address skills shortage

What’s not so good:

·       No extension to the instant asset write-off

·       Cutting of small business cybercrime program

·       No extension to the Future Female Entrepreneur program

What the Budget means for young people

As an MP who believes in genuinely representing their community and bringing young people into their democracy, I am delighted to see funding for the new Youth Engagement Strategy to ensure young people from a range of backgrounds are involved in policy development. This Budget has allocated significant funding toward climate change action and increasing opportunities for young Australians to go to university and TAFE. However, more could be done to support young Australians. There is significant money in the Budget for housing, but this will do little to help young Australians get on the property ladder as the Government’s Housing Accord commits to building the same number of homes over the next five years as has been built in the last five years – effectively business as usual.

What’s good:

·       $203.7 million to support mental health and well-being services in schools

·       $871.7 million for 450,000 fee-free TAFE positions

·       $485.5 million for 20,000 extra university places for disadvantaged Australians

·       $10.5 million to implement a new youth engagement policy


What’s not so good:

·       A commitment to building one million more homes over five years – this is not enough and the same as the last five years


What the Budget means for education

This Budget is a good Budget for education as it provides significant support for fee-free TAFE and university positions. However, in early childhood education, despite the commitment to make childcare more affordable and accessible, it does nothing to address the skills shortage in early education. 

What’s good:

·       $921.7 million for fee-free TAFE to address skills shortage

·       $485.5 million for 20,000 extra university places for disadvantaged Australians

·       $310.4 million to support high-quality teachers and improve student outcomes

·       $270.8 million to fund school improvements and upgrades

What’s not so good:

·       Lack of support for wage increases for childcare workers

What the Budget means for the NDIS

People with disabilities deserve a life of dignity and the chance to achieve their full potential. This Budget will simplify the NDIS and address some of its administrative issues. This Budget also takes steps to get to the bottom of cost blowouts facing the NDIS. This is imperative if we want the scheme to be sustainable and deliver quality of life to thousands of Australians into the future.

What’s good:

·       An increase in staffing levels for the National Disability Insurance Agency

·       $437.4 million over three years for the Plan for the NDIS.

·       $18 million for a review of the NDIS

What the Budget means for integrity

This Budget begins to repair the damage done after a decade of neglect and underfunding of the organisations that provide important checks and balances in our democracy. The increased funding for extra staff in the National Audit Office (ANAO) is welcome, as is the additional resourcing provided to the Human Rights Commission and the ABC. The funding for the establishment of the NACC is also very positive.

What’s good:

·       $262.6 million over four years for the National Anti-Corruption Commission

·       $83.7 million to restore funding for the ABC, which the Coalition cut 

·       Increased staffing for the National Audit Office (ANAO)

·       $31.8 million in extra funding for the Human Rights Commission

What the Budget means for Indigenous Australians

This Budget starts to do more to support Indigenous Australians. Importantly it allocates significant funding for the referendum for the Indigenous Voice to Parliament and provides funding to expand the Indigenous Rangers Program, as well as for Indigenous housing, health, and justice programs.

What’s good:

·       $314 million for Indigenous health initiatives

·       $54.3 million to train Indigenous health workers

·       $75 million for the referendum for the Indigenous Voice to Parliament

·       $99 million for First Nations justice projects

What’s not so good:

·       Slow rollout of the health funding mentioned above, as only $30 million has been allocated for the 2022-23 financial year