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Federal Budget 2024 – A Future Made in Australia!

The latest Federal Budget announced a surplus for the second year in a row as the Albanese Government’s continues to focus on easing living costs, investing in renewable industries and renewing Australia’s manufacturing industries, all while taming inflation.

The key points in the announcement included: cost of living; education, training and HECs changes; skills for construction industry and addressing housing crisis; renewable energies and the revival of manufacturing in Australia – neatly coined ‘Future Made in Australia’.

Here’s a summary of the key budget points that are relevant for industry skills growth.

Skilling Our Workforce

  • $90.6 million investedover 3 years to bolster skills growth in the housing and construction sectors, including targeted investment to encourage Australians into the construction workforce.
  • 20,000 additional Fee-Free VET places for construction trades to address ongoing housing and infrastructure construction projects. This includes 15,000 Fee-Free VET places and 5,000 pre-apprenticeship placements. Starting January 1, 2025, this will be delivered in partnership with states and territories and builds on previous initiatives (355,000 Fee-Free VET places in 2023 and 300,000 additional from 2024-2026).
  • Support for small and medium businesses taking on clean energy, construction and manufacturing apprentices through access to Group Training Organisation services, with up to $1,500 in annual reimbursements over the life of an apprenticeship.

Support for Apprentices, Job Seekers and Students

One of the biggest announcements made earlier this week and featured in the budget announcement, is the wiping of approximately $3 billion of HECs debt. This will provide 3 million Australians with an average indexation credit of approximately $1,200 for the past two years. The debt relief for HECs also applies for apprentices who owe money through the VET Student Loan program or the Australian Apprenticeship Support Loan.

A $600 million budget commitment is also set to bolster skills growth and development in the clean energy, construction, and manufacturing sectors, as well as support apprentices and break down barriers for women in male-dominated industries.

Further announced were these budget allocations relevant to students, apprentices and job seekers:

  • Apprentices training in priority areas will be eligible for an additional $2,000 ($5,000 in total) to assist them to undertake and complete their training.
  • Apprentices entering trades where they can learn clean energy skills will be eligible to receive up to $10,000 in payments. This is an already existing initiative, but the government has now increased eligibility to include apprentices in automotive, electrical, housing and construction sectors.
  • Investing $55.6 million over four years to establish the Building Women’s Careers Program. The program will establish large scale projects and smaller, place-based partnerships and will focus on creating scalable, high-quality, and inclusive training and employment opportunities for women.
  • Under the Australian Skills Guarantee, an investment of $10.6 million over four years to develop an online reporting system to support the delivery of national targets within eligible Commonwealth-funded construction and ICT procurements. By introducing targets for women, the Skills Guarantee will also tackle gender imbalance in the construction and ICT sectors and increase gender diversity in the apprenticeship system.

Further Support for Small Business and Industry Skills Growth

  • $641.4 million in targeted support for small businesses. This includes improving cash flow for small business with a budget allocation of $290 million to extend the $20,000 instant asset write‑off for 12 months, as well as $25.3 million to improve payment times to small businesses and $23.3 million to increase eInvoicing adoption.
  • An extension of the government’s instant asset write-off scheme for small businesses for another year, allowing businesses with a turnover of less than $10 million to claim $20,000 from eligible assets (subject to passing in parliament).
  • Energy bill relief of $300 for eligible small businesses.
  • The flagship ‘Future Made in Australia’ Innovation Fund aims to boost jobs growth and less reliance on global supply chains. A vast array of projects will boost local manufacturing in a sweeping range of industries including:
    – $1 billion for the Solar SunShot program to increase the number of Australian-made solar panels.
    – $2 billion for its Hydrogen Headstart scheme to accelerate the green hydrogen industry.
    – $470 million to build the world’s first “fault-tolerant” quantum computer in Brisbane, matching the Queensland government’s contribution.
    – A $1 billion export deal to supply Germany with 100 infantry fighting vehicles, manufactured at Rheinmetall’s facility in Ipswich.
    – $2.2 billion to explore critical minerals and mining, particularly for renewable energy industries.

Other key budget announcements included the following.

Cost of Living Relief

  • Stage 3 tax changes that will benefit 13.6 million Australia’s with the average wage earners getting an $804 tax cut.
  • Energy bill relief with every household receiving $300.
  • Adjustments to rental assistance for welfare recipients.
  • $3 billion for cheaper medicines and price of medicines to be capped.

Affordable Housing

The budget announced a commitment of $1.3 billion to help address the nation’s housing crisis. This includes $9.3 billion for a new five-year national agreement to boost social and affordable housing and $1 billion allocated towards emergency accommodation for women and children.

Supporting People Living with Disability Into Meaningful Employment

An additional $227.6 million over the next five years will be allocated to help more people with disability prepare for and find suitable employment, including a new specialised disability employment program commencing on 1 July 2025.

Supporting First Nations People

Investing $2.4 billion over 5 years to create new opportunities and achieve better outcomes for First Nations people, including in the priority areas of jobs, health, education, justice, housing and other essential infrastructure and services.

It is estimated 3,000 new jobs will be created with the remote jobs and economic development program established in Northern Territory Australia, with $839 million spent over five years on housing in remote communities.

Additionally, $151 million over four years will be spent on various programs associated with the national agreement on Closing the Gap, including $111 million on critical services.

Supporting Mental Health

$888 million will be invested in a new mental health initiative rolled out from 2026 as part of the currently named National Early Intervention Service, offering between 5 and 10 free sessions of cognitive-based therapy for eligible participants.

Learn more about what the 2024-25 Federal Budget means for you or your business.


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