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Treasurer Jim Chalmers has begun his post-Budget sales pitch. (ABC News/Matt Roberts)

Broad cost-of-living relief in the federal Budget faces early fire from experts and economists, but Treasurer Jim Chalmers insists the measures are sorely needed. Source: AAP.

The treasurer’s third federal Budget included $300 energy rebates for every household and tax cuts of $36 a week on average, along with capping the price of medicines and boosting rent relief.

While some cost-of-living measures in the Budget have been targeted, Dr Chalmers backed in the need for measures such as energy rebates for all households, rather than means-testing them to where they were most needed.

“People are under cost-of-living pressure up and down the income scale,” he told the ABC after delivering his Budget to federal parliament.

“We’ve found a responsible and affordable, but meaningful, way to help people with the cost of living, not just people on low and fixed incomes, but people in middle Australia too.”

Power bill relief will see every household get a $300 energy rebate from July, while eligible small businesses will get a $325 rebate.

As well, Commonwealth Rent Assistance will increase by 10 per cent for more than one million households, with the government spending $1.9 billion over the next five years.

On average, those on rent assistance will receive an extra $19 per fortnight.

The cost of medicines will also be frozen, with a cap of $31.60 set for prescriptions included in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Cost caps of $7.70 will also be in place for five years for pensioners and concession holders.

Further cost-of-living measures include the well-foreshadowed stage-three tax cuts, with all taxpayers to keep more of their pay from July. On average, taxpayers will save $1888 in the upcoming financial year, or $36 a week.

Dr Chalmers said the cost-of-living measures would be split between broad-based relief and targeted programs.

But shadow treasurer Angus Taylor said the Budget had failed to address cost-of-living pressures.

“Australians will be disappointed … it does nothing to help Australians get ahead and to restore their standard of living,” he said.

“The Government has shown it is focused on the wrong priorities at a time when Australians are doing it tough.”


Treasurer backs rebates for all in cost-of-living fight (By Andrew Brown, AAP)


Labor splashes billions on cost of living relief (The Australian)

Cost-of-living package in 2024 federal budget includes $3.5bn energy rebate and rent assistance but no JobSeeker boost (The Guardian)

Federal budget 2024 – winners and losers summary (The Guardian)

A three-minute guide to what’s in the federal budget to help with the cost-of-living crisis (ABC News)