Nonprofit organizations expressed various opinions when Treasurer Jim Chalmers presented the Federal Budget for 2023–24 in Parliament House in Canberra.
While the new Budget is expected to benefit industries like healthcare, housing, and education, groups that advocate for other causes will likely have to fight harder to get it.
“While we can still be hopeful, the Government will need to strike a compromise among several budgetary issues. For not-for-profit organizations in 2023, it will also be crucial to integrate charity into investing, according to Jo Scard, CEO of Fifty Acres.
Here are the effects that the NFP sector’s increased financing for its various segments will have on it:
The Treasurer’s relief package is like a breath of fresh air, considering how severely the cost-of-living situation has gotten out of hand. Concern was raised about the alleviation not being a long-term fix until those receiving JobSeeker and other Centrelink payments were lifted out of poverty, according to organizations like ACOSS and Anglicare.
“Living expenses are rising rapidly. Housing is more expensive than ever, and prices for necessities like food and transportation are rocketing up, according to Kasy Chambers, executive director of Anglicare Australia.
“JobSeeker and other Centrelink payments will still lag the poverty line by hundreds of dollars, with small increases being dwarfed by rent rises,” Chambers continued.
Dr. Cassandra Goldie, CEO of ACOSS, praised the benefits that the 2023–24 Budget offered, particularly for the aged care sector, but she also emphasized that more than one million people will continue to live in poverty despite the rise in the base rates for Rent Assistance, Youth Allowance, and JobSeeker.
“We will fight tirelessly to see that income assistance payments are increased so that they adequately cover necessities; for those on Jobseeker, $52.85 per day is insufficient. For those receiving Youth Allowance, $42.85 is insufficient, according to Dr. Cassandra.
“We commend everyone who worked tirelessly to push for a significant increase in JobSeeker, Youth Allowance, and related benefits in this Budget. Even though the increase for tonight is significantly less than what is necessary, we think there might not have been any increase at all without your advocacy.
With the promise of a $4 billion funding boost for wages for community service workers, the Budget puts funding for community services front and centre.
The expense of providing community services, which is more important than ever, has increased along with the cost of living. According to Violet Roumeliotis, CEO of SSI, “It’s a perfect storm, and we need to navigate that storm by supporting community service organizations that are closest to those directly affected and who are best positioned to help.”
Roumeliotis emphasized that organizations that offer settlement services are under major financial pressure as a result of a combination of insufficient indexation, rising wages, increased operational costs, and more.
However, SSI applauded the Federal Government’s efforts to make support services available to refugees and migrants who have lived in Australia at least for more than five years and have unmet needs connected to settlement.
Refugees and Migrants
The Budget for this year increases the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold to $70,000 and makes investments in a stronger immigration system.
AMES Australia applauds the 2023 Federal Budget, especially the cost-of-living adjustments that will help disadvantaged people and families, including refugees and immigrants.
“We are aware that immigration is a major contributor to our economic success and that it has shaped us into the thriving, multiethnic nation that we are. Making the most of the skills that immigrants bring with them is crucial to Australia’s future economic prosperity, according to Cath Scarth, CEO of AMES Australia.
Dulce Munoz, the national convenor of Mums 4 Refugees, is upset with the results of the Federal Budget.
“The federal administration has lost another chance to effect genuine change. Studies have shown that refugees have a variety of positive effects on the communities where they reside, according to Munoz.
“Despite the Government’s constant discussions about transformation and aiding our most disadvantaged neighbourhoods, our leaders have yet to take concrete action. Financially speaking, it makes sense for Australia to finally treat refugees and asylum seekers humanely.
The reforms in the 2023–24 Federal Budget to improve Official Development Assistance are applauded by Aid Budget ACFID and Plan International Australia as being “responsible and sustainable.”
Plan International emphasized the Government’s continued support of the international aid budget, especially given the current economic climate.
Although the Budget only includes modest short-term initiatives to raise ODA, ACFID understands the Government’s commitment to long-term increases of 2.5% per year beginning in 2026–2027.
Susanne Legena, CEO of Plan International Australia, emphasized the significance of a foreign aid budget that reflects the rising need, saying that development assistance continues to be most effective investments alongside diplomatic efforts to influence and support equity, peace, and economic development in the area and around the world.
Education-related NFP organizations, like Mission Australia, More investment in the education sector, was something Plan International Australia anticipated would happen.
“We are disappointed that the Australian Government has not included a pledge to Education Cannot Wait, United Nations Global Fund for the education in emergencies as well as protracted crises, in this year’s budget,” said Susanne Legena.
In the Pacific, 3.8 million children are at risk of not attending school because of climate-related disasters, according to a recent analysis from a nonprofit organization, underscoring the critical need for funding for children’s education in humanitarian emergencies.
“We particularly hoped to see a commitment to more Youth Foyers nationwide to provide vital housing, education, and employment opportunities and help young people who are homeless or at risk to thrive,” said Sharon Callister, CEO of Mission Australia.
Callister emphasized that it has been demonstrated that education and the career prospects it offers help young people break cycles of homelessness and disadvantage.
Numerous healthcare charities and organizations have expressed their satisfaction with this year’s Budget for primary care, assisted living, and mental health.
The National Mental Health Consumer Alliance, Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association, AMES Australia, and VMCH applaud the Australian Government’s pledges.
According to AHHA Chief Executive Kylie Woolcock, “This Budget demonstrates that the Federal Government is committed to investing in some of the critical enablers to make this happen.”
Over a four-year period, the Australian Government invested $580 billion, with $101.0 billion going to health, $36.0 billion to elderly care, and $563.1 million going to sports.
“We applaud the Government’s commitment to providing a $91.3 million package over 5 years for psychologists to receive training. This will help solve the issue of lengthy waiting lists for consumers to receive psychological treatment, according to BEING CEO Priscilla Brice.
“The Alliance is pleased to see that $10.5 million has been committed to support the mental health of First Nations people around the referendum to enshrine an Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Voice in the Constitution,” Brice continued.
While Sonya Smart, CEO of VMCH, is “cautiously optimistic” for the future sustainability of the aged care sector, AMES Australia CEO Cath Scarth is pleased with the increased money for Medicare, which will see $5.7 billion spent on reducing the cost of seeing a doctor.
Smart continued, “We are cautiously confident that these pronouncements will result in lasting industry improvements.