What’s in this election-year Federal Budget for your organisation?

Posted on 03 Apr 2019

By Stefanie Ball, Funding Centre Manager

We’ve trawled through the budget papers to discover grants news that could affect you.

With a May election expected to be called any day, many believe the 2019 Federal Budget is a budget of election promises and pork-barreling.

This week, the Morrison Government received criticism for announcing an $850 million boost to NDIS providers the weekend before the budget was released amid reports that surplus NDIS funds are being used to boost the budget.

$158 billion in tax cuts for low and middle-income earners has also come under fire for ignoring those who need it most.

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said in response to the Budget that “none of the tax cuts benefit people on the lowest incomes, as one third of households, including low-paid workers, pensioners and people looking for paid work, do not have enough income to pay tax.”

ACOSS also slammed the Government’s refusal to make any real increase to the Newstart and Youth Allowance payments, and chief executive of World Vision Australia Claire Rogers labelled the aid budget, which hasn’t increased for its sixth consecutive year “unfair and strategically short-sighted.”

It’s not all bad news, though. Mental health has received a $460 million boost, despite only $5 million of that figure going towards Indigenous suicide prevention initiatives, and $500 million has been allocated for the Royal Commission into Abuse of People with Disability.

The Business Council of Australia has praised tax cuts and infrastructure spending, labelling it a “strong and responsible budget,” and asset write-offs for small businesses and the $525 million skills package including 80,000 new apprenticeships have been warmly welcomed.

Highlights

  • Coalition Treasurer Josh Frydenberg used the phrase “without increasing taxes” eight times in his first budget speech on Tuesday
  • Key themes included a strong economy in surplus, heavy investment in skills development and infrastructure, and lower taxes costing the budget an estimated $158 billion
  • Predicted surplus of $7.1 billion for the 2019-20 financial year, and surpluses predicted for each year of the forward estimates
  • $4.2 billion deficit for the current financial year
  • $285 million Energy Assistance Payment now includes those on Newstart payments after the Government changed its position the day after handing down the budget
  • $2.1 billion in estimated savings come from the welfare sector through the extension of the Single Touch Payroll system (automatic employment income reporting)
  • $129 million to extend cashless welfare cards
  • Several social sector organisations were denied access to the lock-up
  • $1.6 billion in unspent NDIS funds redirected to cover other budget items, following a slower-than-expected rollout of the scheme
  • Foreign aid has now suffered a sixth successive budget cut
  • Newstart Allowance hasn’t seen any real increase in 25 years, in the face of the social sector’s “Raise the Rate” campaign
  • $800,000 for “additional support for Australia Day activities” and funding to review the National Australia Day Council’s programs
  • Treasurer Frydenberg’s pre-budget announcement that Men’s Sheds will be eligible to receive Deductible Recipient (DGR) status from 1 July 2020 through new law

Grants and funding

  • $300 million in 2018-19 for two $150 million grants to help primary producers replace damaged crops and infrastructure as part of the North Queensland Flood Recovery Package
  • $232 million allocated in 2018-29 under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA), including grants for flood-affected primary producers, small businesses and not-for-profit organisations
  • $206.2 million from 2019-20 for the Building Better Regions Fund
  • $102.8 million from 2019-20 to establish the Regional Airports Program
  • $61.2 million over four years from 2019-20 to establish the Energy Efficient Communities Program, providing grants to businesses and community organisations
  • $60 million in additional funding for Export Market Development Grants
  • $54.1 million over two years from 2019-20 for high-performance grants to National Sporting Organisations
  • $42.5 million over two years from 2019-20 for the Community Sport Infrastructure Program to fund sport infrastructure projects in local communities
  • $41 million over two years from 2019-20 for grants to strengthen social inclusion through sport and recreation, and extend the Big Issue Community Street Soccer Program
  • $58.2 million for a fifth round of the Safer Communities Fund and increased funding for round four
  • $26.8 million over two years from 2019-20 for the Stronger Communities Program
  • $17.2 million over five years from 2018-19 to establish a grants program to improve outcomes for Australians living with chronic disease
  • $16.2 million over four years from 2019-20 to boost the Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Program
  • $12.6 million over three years from 2019-20 to establish the Community Languages Multicultural Grants Program
  • $10 million over four years from 2019-20 for an Online Safety Grants Program to allow the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to deliver online safety education and training for children through non-government organisations
  • $7.3 million over three years from 2018-19 to continue the Fostering Integration Grants Program
  • $2.7 million to establish a new grants program for Indigenous musicians

Other cuts

  • $77.9 million over four years from 2019-20 saved by streamlining employment servicing arrangements for newly arrived refugees
  • $2.1 billion saving in welfare payments over the next five years through the introduction of Single Touch Payroll
  • Now 25-years since real increase to Newstart payments
  • Aid budget not increased in seven years

Spending by category

Community services and development:

  • $0.8 million in 2018-19 to assist isolated families through one-off payment of $1,000 per student currently receiving support through AIC Scheme or ABSTUDY
  • Extended rollout of the cashless welfare card
  • Decreased spending on housing and community amenities
  • One-off Energy Assistance Payment of $75 for singles and $125 for couples (also see seniors and disability)

Environment:

  • $3.5 billion Climate Solutions Package to help meet Paris agreement emissions target, including
    • $2 billion Climate Solutions Fund to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
    • $100 million Environment Restoration Fund to provide grants for on-ground restoration and protection projects and emerging environmental issues and to complement new
    • $28.3 million Communities Environment Program for community led environment projects

Disability:

  • $5.3 billion in 2018-19 on the NDIS, reflecting an almost $2 billion decrease from last years’ budget predictions
  • $528 million for a Royal Commission into Abuse of People with Disability
  • $84 million for young carers
  • $2 million in 2019-20 for Get Skilled Access to support schools and community clubs
  • $1.4 million over two years from 2019-20 for Special Olympics Australia
  • One-off Energy Assistance Payment of $75 for singles and $125 for couples (also see seniors and community services and development)

Children and family:

  • $328 million over four years to deliver Fourth Action Plan, including new 1800RESPECT helpline and training for health and service providers
  • $5.1 million over four years from 2019-20 to implement National Principles for Child Safe Organisations and progress work in response to Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

Mental health:

  • $461 million in youth mental health and suicide prevention strategy including:
    • 30 new headspace centres;
    • extra counselling services for communities suffering natural disasters;
    • perinatal mental health program;
    • treatment for early psychosis
  • $337 million in new funding for drug strategy

Indigenous:

  • $200 million over four years from 2019-20 for additional scholarship placements and mentoring support for Indigenous students under the Closing the Gap refresh
  • $160 million for research to improve the health of Indigenous Australians
  • $5 million over four years from 2019-20 to implement Indigenous suicide prevention initiatives

Seniors:

  • $280 million for 10,000 home care packages for older people
  • $18 million to support frontline services, and new National Hotline (1800ELDERHelp) as part of the launch of the National Plan to Respond to the Abuse of Older Australians
  • One-off Energy Assistance Payment of $75 for singles and $125 for couples (also see disability and community services and development)

Women:

  • $150 million over four years from 2019-20 to build female change room facilities at sporting grounds and communities swimming facilities
  • $12 million over four years from 2019-20 to Tennis Australia to increase opportunities for women and girls to participate in grassroots tennis

Emergency and safety:

  • $6.3 billion in drought support including concessional loans and $3.3 billion for those affected by flood
  • $3.9 billion Emergency Response Fund for future natural disaster recovery efforts
  • $232 million in 2018-29 under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) for those affected by flooding from North and Far North Monsoonal Trough from 25 January 2019, including:
    • Grants for flood-affected primary producers, small businesses and not-for-profit organisations matched dollar for dollar by the Queensland Government (mentioned in Grants section below)
    • $11 million to 11 local government areas to assist recovery efforts

Rural and regional:

  • $60 million over four years from 2019-20 for Regional Connectivity Program that will provide grants to improve mobile and broadband services in regional areas and online telecommunications advice

Arts and culture:

  • $30.9 million over five years from 2019-20 to support Australian live music industry, including:
    • $22.5 million to support live music venues through a new grants program
    • $2 million to extend Australia Council for the Arts Contemporary Music Touring Program
    • $2.7 million to establish a new grants program for Indigenous musicians (included in grants section)
    • $2.1 million to Australian Music Industry Network to mentor female musicians
  • $10 million over four years from 2019-20 to National Library of Australia to establish Digitisation Fund which will also seek philanthropic contributions

Education, training and professional development:

  • $525 million skills package including:
    • 80,000 new apprenticeships in industries with skills shortages
    • incentive payments to employees double to $8,000 per placement;
    • new apprentices to receive $2,000 incentive payment;
    • $62 million to boost literacy, numeracy and digital skills;
  • $453 million to extend pre-school education, including $1.4 million to increase attendance among disadvantaged and Indigenous students
  • $93.7 million new scholarship program for over 1,000 students per year to study at a regional university or TAFE
  • $30.2 million toward Local School Community Fund in 2019-20 for equipment, upgrades and programs to local schools
  • $4 million in 2018-19 for special circumstances funding for North Queensland schools experiencing financial difficulties, $1 million of which is met from within existing resources
  • $9 billion investment this year in science, research and technology

Business and industry development:

  • Small business tax cut for businesses with an annual turnover of less than $50 million from 27.5% to 25% by 2021-22
  • $2 billion to establish the Australian Business Securitisation Fund to help small businesses access finance
  • $5,000 increase to the instant asset write-off from $25,000 to $30,000 and expanded to include medium-sized businesses with an annual turnover of up to $50 million

Infrastructure:

  • A new $100 billion National Infrastructure Plan over the decade including:
    • Urban Congestion Fund to $4 billion, including a $500 million Commuter Car Park Fund
    • $2 billion for fast-rail between Melbourne and Geelong, and fast-rail corridors in NSW, QLD and VIC
    • $5 billion to build Melbourne airport rail link
    • $1.4 billion to build Snowy 2.0
    • $2.2 billion for safer roads
    • $1 billion to improve freight routes and access to ports
    • $100 million for regional airports (mentioned grants category)
  • $496.2 million in additional funding from 2018-19 to deliver infrastructure projects on sporting grounds in Townsville, Springfield in Queensland and Carlton, Richmond Victoria

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