27 October 2022
The BCCM was in the Budget lock-up on Tuesday night. While remaining sensitive to the inflationary economic environment, the Budget targeted allocations to relieve cost of living pressures and stimulate and modernise the Australian economy.
Funding was also allocated to key policies the Government took to the last election, that support growth in co-ops and mutuals, including those operating in or supporting:
- Local manufacturing ($15b allocation to the National Reconstruction Fund)
- Affordable housing ($350 million to support funding of an additional 10,000 affordable homes under a Housing Accord with state and territory governments and other key stakeholders)
- Community energy ($334 million for community batteries and community solar farms)
Co-ops and mutuals were also recognised in the Budget as trusted partners to deliver on nation building objectives, including allocations of $39.8 million to establish a National Electric Vehicle Charging Network to deliver 117 fast charging stations on highways across Australia with the NRMA and $2.8 million towards rebuilding of the Norco ice cream factory.
For an overview of key measures by sector/industry read our detailed Budget Summary below.
The BCCM’s detailed Budget summary
General measures of note
- A $7.5 billion five-point plan for cost-of-living relief, including:
- $4.7b to deliver cheaper childcare for families
- $531m to expand Paid Parental Leave
- $787.m to reduce the general patient co-payments
- Funding a better future for education, including:
- $1b investment in fee-free TAFE and vocational education places
- $770m for better schools
- $485m to create 20,000 new university places
- Corporate Regulation
- $166.2 million to continue delivery of the Modernising Business Registers program, including the Director Identifcation System
- The Government will improve the integrity of the tax system by aligning the tax treatment of off-market share buy-backs undertaken by listed public companies with the treatment of on-market share buy-backs.
- The Government will establish a new unit within the Attorney-General’s Department to scope options to establish an Anti-Slavery Commissioner
BCCM comment: The BCCM will advocate for inclusion of co-operatives in this ongoing registry modernisation project that seeks to reduce red tape for businesses and increase transparency for stakeholders. In relation to the off-market share buy-backs reform, we believe there may be benefits in this reform for unlisted companies, including co-operative and mutual companies. We will share more information with members when at hand.
- Natural Disaster preparedness:
- $51.5m to support communities impacted by natural disasters, including, $2.8m towards rebuilding the Norco ice cream factory
- Delivering up to $200m per year through a Disaster Ready Fund for prevention and resilience initiatives
BCCM comment: The BCCM welcomed the support for Norco and the recognition of the anchor economic role co-ops play in the regions.
Sectors at a glance
- $2.5b to improve the quality of nursing care in residential aged care facilities
- $23.2m to improve aged care infrastructure and services for older First Nations peoples, and older Australians from diverse communities and regional areas
- $68.5m to extend Regional Stewardship of the Aged Care outreach model to strengthen governance and to support the implementation of aged care reforms in regional areas
BCCM comment: The additional funding to strengthen regional aged care delivery aligns strongly with the objectives of BCCM’s Caring Together Program. We look forward to finding out more about this funding.
Agriculture and regional development:
- $20.8m over two years to support Australia’s readiness to respond to drought events
- $12.3m over 3 years to sponsor regional trade events, including Casino Beef Week
- $8.1m over 3 years to support commercialization of seaweed as a low emissions feed
- $67.5 million over 4 years from 2022–23 (and $12.4 million per year ongoing from 2025–26) to expand and enhance the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme
- $15b towards the National Reconstruction Fund
- $65.7 million over 9 years to support the supply of Australian domestic gas through increasing monitoring of the gas market by the ACCC
BCCM comment: The BCCM notes the increased funding for the ACCC to monitor gas markets. Based on previous member feedback, we expect that this measure, while helpful, will not by itself resolve the issues in domestic gas markets.
- $350m over 5 years to support funding of 10,000 affordable homes under a Housing Accord with state and territory governments and other key stakeholders
- $10b invested in the Housing Australia Future Fund, to fund the delivery of 30,000 social and affordable homes over 5 years
- $324.6 million over 4 years to establish the Help to Buy scheme to assist people on low to moderate incomes to purchase a new or existing home with an equity contribution from the Government
- $15.2 million over 4 years to establish a National Housing Supply and Affordability Council to support the Australian Government to develop housing supply and affordability policy through research and advice
- Funding to establish Housing Australia, by renaming and expanding the remit of the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation
BCCM comment: The expanded remit for NHFIC, funding for affordable housing delivered with partners such as super funds, and many other measures make this an important budget for co-ops and mutuals with an interest in the provision of affordable housing. The BCCM Leaders’ Summit will be a timely opportunity for members to discuss the movement’s opportunity to be a ‘key stakeholder’ in this space.
Small and medium enterprises:
- $62.6m over 3 years to support small to medium enterprises to fund energy efficient equipment upgrades
- The Government will not proceed with the measure to allow taxpayers to self-assess the effective life of intangible depreciating assets, announced in the 2021–22 Budget.
- The Government will provide $12.9 million over 3 years to establish Jobs and Skills Australia to provide national leadership and advice on Australia’s labour market, and skills and training needs.
- $102.2m over 4 years to establish a Community Solar Banks program
- $224.3m over 4 years to deploy 400 community batteries across Australia
- $275.4m over 6 years to establish the Driving the Nation Fund to invest in cheaper and cleaner transport, including $39.8 million to establish a National EV Charging Network in partnership with the NRMA
BCCM comment: The only established community solar bank in Australia, Haystacks Solar Garden, is a registered co-operative. The funding for community solar banks and community batteries represents an opportunity to grow a significant new sub-sector of the co-operative economy, including with the support of established co-operatives and mutuals as partners with new co-op solar banks and batteries in the regions where they operate. The BCCM also welcomes the funding for EV infrastructure to be delivered in partnership with the NRMA.