Millions of Australians will receive a boost from the federal government toward medical care, bills and welfare payments after Treasurer Jim Chalmers handed down his first budget.
Amid the forecast that the budget will be back in the black with a slim surplus of $4bn this financial year, there will be some help for Australians struggling with the cost of living.
The Chalmers budget is increasing incentives to be paid to GPs who bulk bill 11.6m eligible Australians including children under 16, pensioners and other concession card holders.
GPs will be able to claim the higher incentives for face-to-face consultations more than 6 minutes in length and certain telehealth consultations.
They will also be able to claim more incentives for in-person consultations longer than six minutes and certain telehealth consultations.
GPs who bulk bill patients in the city will be paid a new incentive of $20.65 compared with the old rate of $6.60. Regional GPs will receive a $31.40 incentive, up from $10.05.
In the most remote parts of Australia, the incentive will more than double from $12.70 to $39.65
More than five million eligible households and one million eligible small businesses will now be able to get help with energy bills thanks to a deal between the states and Commonwealth worth $1.5bn.
Eligible people who are on the pension, are a seniors card holder or a recipient of family tax benefits A and B will reap the benefits of the scheme.
These Australians will have the relief directly applied to their power bills as credits rather than being handed cash and the amount they receive will depend on the state they live in.
More than 1.1 million of the most vulnerable Australians will benefit from a $40 per fortnight boost to their welfare payment from September if parliament agrees.
The raised base rate will be applied to people receiving JobSeeker, Youth Allowance, Parenting Payment (partnered), ABSTUDY, Disability Support Pension (Youth) and Special Benefit.
However, this falls short of the advice of the government’s economic equality task force that had recommend JobSeeker raise to 90 per cent of the aged pension.
The budget contains a chilling message to renters with the forecast that rents will increase over the year as the market tightens.
However, more than 1.1. million households that receive the maximum Commonwealth Rent Assistance allowance will have their payments increased by 15 per cent.