Last night, Treasurer Jim Chalmers delivered a relatively restrained Federal Budget as the government continues to tackle the key issues of inflation and the cost of living.
The subdued spending has resulted in the first projected surplus in a budget since 2008, although severe deficits are expected in the years ahead.
Far from a splash of cash, the decision to control spending and limit inflation has meant that there are few surprises to come out of last night’s announcement. So who are the winners of this budget?
Our experts, Oz, Shehan and Sam, have shared their biggest takeaways.
Despite a quieter budget than usual, there were several important measures announced for small businesses.
Following the end of the temporary full expensing period in June, small business owners will benefit from a temporary increase in the instant asset write-off threshold. For small businesses with an annual turnover of less than $10 million, you will be able to immediately deduct eligible assets and equipment costing less than $20,000 in the new financial year.
There are also added incentives to encourage businesses to ‘electrify’ and become more energy efficient. For businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million, spending that supports electrification may be eligible for a tax deduction worth up to $20,000. This means up to $100,000 on items such as electrified heating and cooling, more efficient white goods and battery installation may be eligible for a 20 per cent deduction from your tax bill for the first year in which it is installed or used.
Additionally, alongside a $500 power bill reduction for eligible households, small businesses will also benefit from a one-off payment of $650 which will be deducted from power bills in the next financial year.
There wasn’t a lot of news for property owners last night, albeit a few takeaways for renters.
For renters on the Commonwealth Rent Assistance program, there will be a 15% increase in rental assistance payments, targeting around a million low-income Australians. Unfortunately for middle-income owners, there isn’t any immediate relief for those struggling with record-high rental prices.
The Home Guarantee Scheme will expand from July 1, allowing any two people to purchase an eligible home with a 5% deposit. The scheme will also be available to non-first-home buyers who haven't owned a property for 10 years.
Looking longer term, the government is slowly addressing the growing rental crisis with cash put towards increasing the supply of rental housing in Australia. This includes additional funding for affordable housing and tax breaks for build-to-rent projects, with the hope that these efforts will help ease rental pressure.
Overall, it doesn’t appear that any of the measures announced last night will have much effect on housing affordability for the average Australian, and we can expect the cost of rent to continue climbing for the foreseeable future.
There has been a strong focus on deterring and punishing businesses that withhold super from their workers - the ATO is being handed $40 million to improve its ability to hunt down unpaid super.
On top of this, starting in July 2026, employers will be made to include superannuation payments in their salary and wage disbursements, meaning super will be paid to employees on payday. This measure aims to provide employees with increased transparency regarding the fulfilment of their entitlements and empower the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to more effectively reclaim unpaid superannuation.
There is also a further crackdown on businesses avoiding both income tax and goods and services tax (GST) payments, with extensions to compliance programs from the ATO confirmed.
Finally, the establishment of the National Anti-Scam Center will be taken to address the increase in online scams affecting both individuals and businesses. Scammers will also face more stringent measures, including the identification and removal of phishing websites.