Federal budget 2024 included a controversial $300 rebate for all household

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Treasurer Jim Chalmers are blitzing morning media to sell their third budget, which has already come under fire for including the rich in cost of living relief.

Dr Chalmers on Tuesday night revealed all Australian households would a $300 power bill rebate, despite their income level, while unveiling a $3.9bn surplus.

The extent of the rebate was the big surprise in the budget, which included the previously announced revamped stage 3 tax cuts for all taxpayers and a slight increase in the rent assistance scheme.

Independent senator Jacqui Lambie took aim at the rebate, saying high income earners and the rich didn’t need.

“We don’t need $300. I can assure you. That should have been passed forward. I find it bizarre,” Senator Lambie said on Tuesday night.

“Are we back in Covid days? We’re just chucking money, left, right and centre. (The Albanese government are) too lazy to do some means testing.”

Australian Council of Social Service chief executive Cassandra Goldie said the failure to provide the broad, one-off energy rebate rather than properly increase the Jobseeker and Youth Allowance rates was a missed opportunity.

“We’ve spent $3.5bn providing $300 to people who don’t need it at the same time as we’ve got a gaping hole in this budget now where the govt has not fixed the adequacy of the unemployment payment,” Ms Goldie told Today.

“It should have been properly targeted to people who are struggling the most and we didn’t get that.”

She said the economy was softening and a further 100,000 could be out of work by mid-next year.

All 10 million households will be given $300 in energy bill rebates, while one million small businesses will be $325 better off.

The credits will be applied in quarterly instalments over the financial year, and the entire package will cost the budget $3.5bn.

Labor says its $7.8bn spend to give Australians struggling with the cost of living “targeted” help won’t put further pressure on inflation.
‘Labor finds billions for the bad guys’: Greens

Greens leader Adam Bandt said Labor had betrayed renters, first home buyers and people doing it tough in its budget, by giving the wealthy a tax break while lower income earners are “skipping meals to pay the rent”.

He cautiously welcomed the government’s announcement of a $300 electricity bill rebate, but said he wanted to see something similar happen with rents.

“Rent is a massive driver of inflation, and the housing crisis is breaking people,” he told ABC News.

“Labor won’t get inflation under control if they allow unlimited rent rises.”

He said the 10 per cent increase to Commonwealth rent assistance was a betrayal of people doing it tough, and would pale in comparison to how quickly rents are rising.

“About three-quarters of renters don’t get any rent assistance, and for those who do get rent assistance, they’re going to get an extra $1 or so a day at a time when the Reserve Bank says that rents are going to rise by $46 a week,” he said.

“Labor just doesn’t get it. Labor has found billions for the bad guys in this budget, while you are left doing it tough.”

 More to come

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