March 29, 2022

2022 Australian Federal Budget Summary

Everything you need to know about the 2022 Australian Federal Budget
What you need to know
The Announcements
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What you need to know now:

The Federal Budget deficit is $78 billion, better than the mid-year budget review forecast of $98.9 billion.

  • The better than expected deficit is a result of record high iron ore/coal prices and a reduction in Covid stimulus/support payments.
  • This is an “election budget”, with most expecting a May 14 or 21 election, many of the funding pledges are aimed at appealing to undecided voters.
  • The 2021-22 budget deficit was last estimated to be $106.6 billion (5% of GDP).
  • The 2020-21 budget deficit was $161 billion (7.8% of GDP).
  • Gross Government debt is $817 billion, this is expected to increase to $1.2tn by 2026.
  • A $250 cash payment to low income earners, fuel excise cut, mental health services, $1bn for local manufacturing, $18bn for infrastructure and a surprise LMITO increase headline the budget.
  • The unemployment rate has fallen to 3.75%, the lowest since 1974.
  • Anthony Albanese’s budget reply speech could be delayed due to President Zelensky addressing the Australian parliament on Thursday evening.

Why it Matters:

  • The economy is front of mind for most of the electorate due to inflation and post-Covid debt.
  • This is an election budget, specific announcements could have an influence on the results in certain marginal seats.
  • Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is expected to be a major player in a Liberal party leadership contest if the Coalition loses the election. His record as treasurer will likely play a big part in his pitch to the party and public. Frydenberg also faces a stiff challenge in his seat of Kooyong from well funded independent Dr Monique Ryan, so any contentious budget issues will likely be politically weaponised.

The Important Announcements:

Cost of Living
  • $250 cash payment to low income earners to counteract rising cost of living. It is understood that the government kept these payments to $250 to prevent further stimulating the economy and worsening inflation.
  • Lowering of the fuel excise, currently set at 44.2 cents per litre to 22.1 cents per litre.
  • The new home guarantee is being expanded to 50,000 places to stimulate young home ownership.
  • Defence spending to comprise 2.1% of GDP.
  • $9bn to cybersecurity and intelligence.
  • $800 million for strategic and scientific research in Antarctica - this is seen as an investment in curbing China’s antarctic influence.
  • Space Command to counter China's influence in Space.
  • Large investment in mental health services. Specifically youth suicide, treatments, and new medicines. The prime minister has announced $260 million for youth mental health.
  • $49.5 million to subsidise training for people who want to work in the aged care sector, funding 15,000 places in vocational education.
  • $1.3bn to prevent domestic violence through emergency accommodation, access for legal and health services for women and children in need.
Government Services
  • JobSeeker and pension payments to 4.9 million people increased on March 20, adding an extra $2.2 billion to the budget.
  • Increasing of child care subsidies.

An $18bn boost to the nation’s existing infrastructure pipeline has been announced:

The specifics:

$3.1 billion in new commitments to deliver the $3.6 billion Melbourne Intermodal Terminal Package (VIC), including:

$1.2 billion for the Beveridge Interstate Freight Terminal in Beveridge, taking the total investment to $1.62 billion;

$280 million for Road Connections, including Camerons Lane Interchange, to the Beveridge Interstate Freight Terminal;

$740 million for the Western Interstate Freight Terminal in Truganina; and

$920 million for the Outer Metropolitan Ring - South Rail connection to the Western Interstate Freight Terminal.

$1.6 billion for the Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast (Beerwah-Maroochydore) rail extension(QLD)

1.121 billion for the Brisbane to the Gold Coast (Kuraby – Beenleigh) faster rail upgrade(QLD)

$1 billion for the Sydney to Newcastle – (Tuggerah to Wyong) faster rail upgrade (NSW)

$678 million for Outback Way (NT, WA, QLD)

$336 million for the Pacific Highway - Wyong Town Centre (NSW)

$336 million for the Tasmanian Roads Package – Northern Roads Package – Stage 2 (TAS)

$200 million for the Marion Road – Anzac Highway to Cross Road (SA)

$145 million for the Thomas Road – Dual Carriageway – South Western Highway to Tonkin Highway and interchange at Tonkin Highway (WA)

$140 million for Regional Road Safety upgrades (WA)

$132 million for Central Australian Tourism Roads (NT)

$120 million for the Adelaide Hills Productivity and Road Safety Package (SA)

$46.7 million towards the Athllon Drive Duplication (ACT)

$2.264 billion for the North South Corridor - Torrens to Darlington (SA)

$352 million for the Milton Ulladulla Bypass (NSW)

$320 million for the Bunbury Outer Ring Road (Stages 2 and 3) (WA)

$200 million for the Tonkin Highway Stage 3 Extension (WA)

$45 million for the Ballarat to Ouyen – Future Priorities (VIC)

$68.5 million for the Cooktown to Weipa Corridor Upgrade bringing the total Australian Government funding to the corridor to $258.5 million (QLD)

  • $1 billion in local manufacturing.
  • $15 million for a new battery in Broken Hill, to improve energy security in regional NSW.
  • $5000 payment for new apprentices

Surprise Announcements:

  • Low and Middle Income Tax Offset (LMITO). The LMITO was introduced by Scott Morrison in his last budget as treasurer, offering a $1,080 tax refund to low to medium income earners. The LMITO was only meant to last one year, but has been extended for the previous two. In a surprise, the Coalition has increased the LMITO to $1,500, benefiting those making under $126,000 per year. Some had speculated that the Coalition would remove the LMITO in favour of bringing forward stage 3 tax cuts.

Watch the Treasurer's Full Speech:

Labor's Response:

  • If Labor forms government at the upcoming election, shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers has vowed to hold a second budget later in the year to correct a “decade of rorts and waste”.
  • It is unclear what Labor plans to put in this second budget, and they are intentionally entering this election without large policy announcements. This small target strategy is proving successful so far.
  • More clarity will come in Anthony Albanese's budget reply speech, on Thursday the 31st of March.

A number of Labor MPs (Penny Wong, Kristina Keneally, Clare O'Neil, Terri Butler) have circulated this image today, summing up their coordinated response:

The Long Term State of the Budget:

How this years expected $78 billion deficit stacks up: 

How this year's gross government debt stacks up:

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