With an election looming, it was no surprise that the Budget included big ticket expenditure items. The key expenditure items are detailed below.
Funding for Australian schools will increase 63% by 2029 to $32.4 billion. The average Commonwealth funding per student increases from $3,755 in 2014 to $5,097 in 2019. An additional $30.2 million is also provided to equip schools with upgrades to libraries, play equipment and classrooms. A record $17.7 billion is also extended to the university sector to building Australia’s higher education system.
Improving Australia’s health care system was a significant focus of the Treasurer’s speech. Total health spending is set to increase from $81.8 billion in 2019-20 to $89.5 billion in 2022-23. Taxpayers should be delighted to hear that out-of-pocket expenses are set to reduce. The Government has set aside $199 million to increase patient rebates for diagnostic imaging items and a further $32.6 million to reduce the cost of services for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
A further $100 million will be provided to fund a comprehensive children’s cancer centre at Sydney Children’s Hospital and $60 million to support the James Cook University Tropical Enterprise Centre in Queensland. $331 million for new and amended listings on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), including life-changing medicines to treat bladder, kidney, lung and skin cancer, will also be welcomed.
This Budget highlighted the Government’s attention to infrastructure development and improvement. $100 billion over the next decade will be delivered to ensure Australian workers can travel between worksites more quickly and Australian families can get home sooner and safer. New road and rail projects targeting the worst affected areas in the country will be delivered during this period. $2 billion is set aside for a fast rail connection between Melbourne and Geelong. The Government is also funding cases for five more fast rail proposals in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.
$4 billion will be dedicated to the Urban Congestion Fund with the objective to ease congestion in Australia’s capital cities.
Keeping Australia safe
Safety was addressed in the 2019-20 budget. $200 billion will be provided to strengthen the Australian Defence Force and $337 million provided to the Comprehensive Drug Strategy to increase access to drug support programs and equip the Australian Federal Police with extra resources to crack down on outlaw motorcycle gangs and their drug supply chains. $513 million over five years will also be provided to the Australian Federal Police to enhance its community policing services and counter terrorism activities.
BDO is hopeful that a timely delivery of these promises will improve Australians’ lifestyles, safety, education and health. The Government has taken a balanced approach to address a broad measure of issues and concerns facing Australians. The significant allocation of funds to address and resolve these key items will no doubt contribute to a better Australia.