Federal budget 2024 – winners and losers summary

<span>Budget 2024 winners and losers: the Australian federal budget will help all Australians with energy bills and some with rent assistance – but others will lose.</span><span>Photograph: Roni Bintang/Getty Images</span>
Budget 2024 winners and losers: the Australian federal budget will help all Australians with energy bills and some with rent assistance – but others will lose.Photograph: Roni Bintang/Getty Images

In providing $300 in savings to everyone’s energy bill, the Albanese government is hoping everyone considers themselves a winner with its 2024 budget.

While the energy bill relief is being framed as a rebate, it applies to every household and will be automatically credited to electricity bills, essentially making it a cash handout for everyone that is part of a broader rebate program that will cost $3.5bn over three years.

However, while everyone’s a winner, there are some losers. The government’s projected $9.3bn surplus will be funded by slugging the NDIS with $14.4bn in savings measures and crucially, decisions not to increase spending or any immediate solutions to address the housing crisis will see many renters and aspiring homeowners continue to suffer.

Here’s a breakdown of the 2024 federal budget winners and losers.


Low-income renters

Australians who are on lower incomes and receive certain welfare payments are set for a boost in the amount of government rental support they’re eligible for.

To help Australians on the lowest incomes, the government will bolster its Commonwealth Rent Assistance program, available for those on the disability support pension, carer payment, age pension, jobseeker, youth allowance, Austudy, parenting payments, or family tax benefit (part B) paying above a certain amount on rent.

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Just under one million Australian households renting in the private market or from a community provider will enjoy a 10% increase on the maximum rate of rent assistance available to them under the scheme, as part of the changes that will take effect from September. This follows a 15% increase in last year’s budget.

To give you an idea of what a Commonwealth Rent Assistance payment typically looks like, as of December, the average recipient was paying about $590 in rent each fortnight, and receiving about $158 in rent assistance. But the amount each recipient is eligible for depends on their household type and how high their rent is.

The government will spend $1.9bn increasing the maximum rent assistance rates over the next five years. However, as treasurer Jim Chalmers said in his budget speech, this measure brings “much-needed help” only to those “doing it tough”. Renters who don’t receive welfare support payments or the means tested family tax benefit don’t get any rent assistance as part of this announcement, and amid a national crisis in which rents increased by more than 10% in 2023, this increase does not go very far at all.

Renewable energy manufacturing businesses

The government wants to boost local manufacturing of solar panels and bolster the green hydrogen industry.

Local solar panel manufacturers will have access to subsidies, grants and other supports, as will local battery manufacturing operations, as the government spends $1.5bn on boosting the country’s capability and resilience against supply chain disruptions from countries such as China, which controls about four-fifths of the global solar panel market.

The government has also allocated $6.7bn over the next 10 years on a Hydrogen Production Tax Incentive, which will pay $2 a kilogram of locally produced renewable hydrogen from 2027-28.

This of course all comes alongside the government’s flagship Future Made in Australia Innovation Fund, so it’s broadly a good budget for local manufacturing.


The government will spend $1.1bn over four years to pay superannuation on government-funded paid parental leave from July 2025, to address the disparity in retirement incomes between men and women which is now at 25%.

There’s $56m for a raft of women’s health initiatives, including $12.5m over four years for the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health organisation to provide free period products, $7m over four years to support women and families who have suffered miscarriage, and $5.2m over three years to train health workers to insert and remove long-acting reversible contraceptives, as well as training for GPs to better treat menopause.

Women will also benefit from higher rebates for longer consultations for patients with complex gynaecological conditions such as endometriosis, which the government will spend $49.1m subsidising.

There will also be a gender audit of Medicare-funded service – for example, the current rebate on ultrasounds of the scrotum is significantly higher than for a female pelvic ultrasound – and measures to improve access to affordable abortion services by easing rules around ultrasounds.

Prior to Tuesday’s budget, the government also announced a program to help women leaving domestic violence situations, with payments of up to $5,000 and access to other support services at a cost of $756.4m over five years. A significant portion of existing social housing spending has also been redirected to crisis and transitional accommodation for women and children fleeing domestic violence.

Small businesses

In addition to the household energy bill relief, around one million small businesses will be eligible to receive a $325 rebate on electricity costs.

The instant asset write-off scheme has also been extended again. Businesses with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $10m will continue to be able to immediately deduct the full cost of eligible assets under $20,000, provided they’re first used or installed and ready by the end of June 2025. The scheme can be taken advantage of on multiple assets.

Pensioners, cancer patients and Australians requiring PBS medicines

The cost of medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) will be frozen for a year, for Medicare cardholders with a prescription. For pensioners and concession cardholders, the co-payment cost of PBS medicines will be frozen for five years. The government will spend $469.1m on these subsidies.

Additionally, it will spend $3.4bn listing new medicines on the PBS, including medications for cardiac disease, and a breast cancer medication that will see per treatment cost cut from about $100,000 to $31.60.

The government will also spend $1.4bn over the next 13 years on the Medical Research Future Fund, including more than $400m for low survival cancers and addressing health inequities.


The government is spending big on road safety and upgrades.

Several measures in this budget aim to tackle the nation’s worsening road death toll, with spending on the Roads to Recovery and Black Spot programs to progressively increase to $1bn and $150m respectively by 2033-34. The safer local roads and infrastructure program, to address heavy vehicle road safety and bridge renewal, will also receive $200m in funding each year until 2033-34.

The government has also announced it will spend $21.2m over six years to improve data collation of road safety incidents across states to form a National Roads Safety data hub. A one-year national road safety education and awareness campaign will also be funded to the tune of $10.8m.

Meanwhile, the government will spend billions on new roads in western Sydney, as well as on existing key road projects across the country, including Melbourne’s North East Link. It will also spend hundreds of millions upgrading roads in the Northern Territory, as well as key highways in all states and territories.

Disorganised travellers

The frantic rush to the post office to renew a passport in the lead up to an overseas holiday appears to be on the rise, and the government has figured out a new way to help this disorganised type of traveller while boosting its budget.

Fast track processing of passports will become an option from July. For an additional fee of $100, you can have your passport processed in just five business days.

The government expects to make $27.4m from this express passport option over five years, with the money to be directed to support the work of the department of foreign affairs and trade, so if the tourist who didn’t check their passport expiry date also didn’t check visa rules in a foreign country and finds themselves detained, they’ll likely benefit from the consular services their speedy passport fees have funded.

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It’s important to note, the government already offers a “priority processing” option which costs $252 for a two-day turnaround, but only certain people can pay for this option. Anyone who has lost their passport twice in the past five years is ineligible.

So this new “fast track” option to pay $100 extra for a five-day turnaround serves as a middle ground for those who may be ineligible for the faster option or don’t want to pay more than $250, but who cannot risk waiting weeks in the standard passport application process.

Those with student debt

Gaining significant attention when announced in the lead up to the budget, the government is capping indexation of student loans to either the consumer price index or the wage price index, whichever is lower.

Cutting around $3bn in student debts through the changes to the Hecs and Help loan programs, the initiative will be backdated to mid-2023, reversing last year’s horror 7.1% indexation hike and providing a $1,200 saving for the average person with student debt.

Freight rail operators

After years of wild weather including floods destroying sections of regional train tracks and ballooning freight rail delivery times by forcing roundabout diversions, the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), which manages large chunks of the tracks relied on by the nation’s freight rail operators, is set for reliability improvements.

In an effort to remove trucks from roads and push freight on to rail, the ARTC will receive $540m to upgrade key sections of track to make sending freight by rail more reliable, including in regional Victoria and Western Australia.


Renters on average incomes and aspiring homeowners

The government has acknowledged the country is in the grips of a housing crisis, with average rents consistently rising, property ownership increasingly out of reach for workers and housing construction falling well short of national and state targets.

However there is little in this budget that will bring immediate relief, or even cause for short to medium term optimism, for middle and high income renters.

For those renters eager to escape the constant fear of rent rises and buy their first home, there are no structural changes such as to negative gearing rules that would shake up the ownership dynamic of the housing market.

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And while the government is continuing billions in investments in home construction initiatives with the states, these are only expected to begin to significantly boost housing stock towards the end of the decade.

The lack of any significant near future solutions in this budget means most renters and aspiring homeowners will continue bearing the brunt of the housing crisis.

Tax dodgers

Cracking down on multinationals, large public and private companies and high-wealth individuals will be the focus of the tax office’s Tax Avoidance taskforce, which is being extended by a further two years, until July 2028. Extending the taskforce will cost the government $1.2bn over the next five years, but will raise tax revenue by $2.4bn.

And while they haven’t exactly been cheating the system, foreign residents in Australia will be subject to a stronger capital gains tax regime more in line with what Australian residents pay, affecting the tax they pay when selling properties and shares. The government expects to raise $600m in tax from these changes over the next five years, and will spend $8m on the changes.


The government will spend $67.5m over the next four years to combat scams and online fraud, with the government to legislate a Scams Code Framework which will include mandatory codes for different industries.

Telecommunications, banks and digital platforms such as social media and search engines will be targeted initially, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to receive $37.3m over the four years to administer and enforce the codes so that businesses in various industries address scams on their platforms and services.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will also receive $23.3m over four years to operate a secure eInvoicing network, while the ACCC will receive $6.3m this coming financial year to improve public awareness of scams and help the public avoid and report them.

NDIS recipients and providers

The government’s headline surplus has been achieved in part through a significant saving on the National Disability Insurance Scheme, with spending on the program predicted to be $14bn less over four years than projected in the mid year economic and fiscal outlook.

The government will also spend about $84m over two years to boost fraud detection capability at the National Disability Insurance Agency, as it looks to strengthen the integrity of the NDIS and weed out what has been a growing trend of providers gaming the scheme.

International students

A cap on the number of international students at Australian universities was announced in the lead up to the budget, with the sector voicing its concern at lower revenues from the high-fee paying cohort traditionally seen as a cash cow to subsidise the cost for local students.

In the budget, the government has revealed its plan to regulate the caps based on how much student accommodation a university builds. In an acknowledgment of the added burden international students place on the already strained supply of housing for young Australians, the government will require any increase in international student enrolments to be tied to the amount of new housing a university builds.

“If universities want to take more international students, they must build more student accommodation,” Chalmers said in his speech on Tuesday night.