The time has come again for the drop of Australia’s Federal Budget bearing more suspense than the next season of Stranger Things 4. Last year, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg handed down a budget tested by floods, fires, drought and a once in a generational global pandemic. This year, the Government’s economic recovery plan is being extended with the budget being $106 billion in deficit.
While the economic recovery of Australia’s coin is very much dependent on how well we keep COVID-19 cases on a chill level, for young people—there’s still a lot to unpack so we’re breaking down the major pullouts important to young people and what they mean for you.
Income Tax Cuts Have Been Extended
If you tuned into the handing down of last year’s budget, you’ll remember the big Oprah moment from Treasurer Josh Frydenberg had (more on that here). The Government basically brought forward income tax cuts that were marked to hit midway through 2022 for the 2020-2021 financial year. For the last year, it means that people earning between $37,000 and $90,000 will get up to an extra $1080 come tax time. Sound good? It is. And things are even better because the government has extended this offset for another year (which means your 2021-2022 is looking pretty cashed up too).
Extension Of JobTrainer
The 2021 Budget is also extending its JobTrainer program which looks like a heap of low-fee and free training courses in a bunch of industries that have a bit of skill-shortage right now. The idea is that this extension (which matches an additional $506.3 million over two years) will offer up around 160,000 new training places with most of these in aged care and digital skills courses too. On top of this, the eligibility criteria for JobTrainer has been widened to include not just 17 to 24-year-olds and the unemployed, but employed people hit hardest by the pandemic.
More Apprenticeships And Traineeships
Okay, we hate to pull a Kanye but the government had one of the best job creation schemes of all time—and they’ve just extended it. Employers will actually be given an additional $1.5 billion in wage subsidies to hire another 100,000 apprentices and trainees. Under this scheme, employers will get reimbursed for half of an apprentice’s or trainee’s wage during their first year (but this is capped at $7000 each quarter).
Mental Health And Suicide Prevention
In 2020, the Government blew (very rightly) a good $5.7 billion on mental health services and suicide prevention. This year, the budget includes an extra $2.3 billion going into suicide prevention efforts and treatment centres, with more than half of this pool of cash going straight into mental health centres funded by the government which also includes Headspace facilities.
On top of this, there’ll be an entirely new network of mental health clinics for anyone over the age of 25. They’ve been dubbed Head To Health centres and there’ll be about 40 physical centres rolled out across the country with a digital arm for any online counselling or support people need as well. About $250 million will also be going towards mental health services available online and another $107 million going into vulnerable communities (particularly for First Nations people).
Much like last year’s Budget, there wasn’t a whole lot on the environment front again. We wish we had more to say on this but we’re literally still jaws to the floor. Maybe next year.
For your next backpacking trip around Central America or your next month-long sabbatical fuelled by Aperol Spritz on the Amalfi Coast, you’ve still got a while to wait. International borders will most likely be flatlined until sometime around (or after) 2022. While the budget kind of assumes vaccinations will be rolling out like hotcakes by the end of this year, the government is staying pretty conservative with its international travel estimates.
For the full rundown, check the entire Federal Budget 2021 here.
Image credit: Drastic Graphics