‘Does nothing’: Young Aussies rage at Albo

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The federal budget has been delivered and, while it’s very good news if you are a high-income earner, young Aussies feel they have been, once again, left behind.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Treasurer Jim Chalmers handed down their second budget on Tuesday night and, in doing so, stressed that Labor must prioritise vulnerable Australians in its bid to balance the books.

The Treasurer announced $14 billion in cost-of-living relief for struggling Aussies over the next year, while also slyly planning to hand $69 billion back to some of the country’s wealthiest over the same period.

The latter comes from a Labor decision not to roll back Stage 3 tax cuts for the rich brought in by the Morrison government — and supported by Labor — which means workers earning over $200,000 will get $9000 a year in tax relief.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Treasurer Jim Chalmers. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin OllmanPrime Minister Anthony Albanese and Treasurer Jim Chalmers. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

If we break that down further, that is an extra $173 a week for high income earners.

In comparison welfare recipients, such as those on Youth Allowance, Jobseeker and AusStudy, will be getting an extra $20 a week from September 20.

If you are 55 or over, that amount is boosted with the extension of the eligibility of a higher rate in the Jobseeker payment.

Those in this age bracket who have been on welfare payments for nine or more continuous months will receive an extra $45 a week.

So other than $20 a week – or $2.85 a day – what else was in the budget for young Aussies?

Well, there was the increase of the cap to Commonwealth Rent Assistance, which some people on Youth Allowance are eligible to receive.

The 15 per cent increase on max rates translates to between $7.86 and $15.88 a week.

On Tuesday night, Dr Chalmers claimed this was the biggest increase in more than 30 years and would help “ease the pressure on people feeling the pain of rising rents”.

However, many young Australians have been left less than impressed by Labor’s offering and haven’t been shy voicing their anger.

Jamie, a 25-year-old Tasmanian woman said the budget left her feeling “incredibly dejected” and “disappointed”.

She and her partner are both on Jobseeker and receive rent assistance. Jamie said, realistically, the minor increases being offered are “no help”.

“My partner and I are both on Jobseeker. We’re lucky to be in the place we are, but ONE of our pays barely covers our entire rent for the fortnight (WITH rent assistance),” she wrote on Twitter.

“That’s still 1x $690 (‘soon’ to be $730 wowee) to feed 2 people, 2 cats, and pay all bills.”

The young woman said, while that may sound like a lot in “raw” numbers, they are lucky if they each have $100 left over at the end of the fortnight, which is then usually used to pay for necessary appointments.

“We’ve been trying to save for the better part of the year, and we have *nothing* to our names,” she said, adding that most of their savings go to higher electricity bills, medicine for them or their pets, or the higher cost of groceries.

“We are among the ‘better off’, but we’re still immensely struggling.

“The ‘$20 a week increase’ does nothing. I feel so incredibly dejected. Disappointed. Alienated. Hopeless.

“Why is it so hard for the governing body of a country to do the morally correct thing for it’s people. Nobody should have to f**king live like this.”

Bailey Riley, President of the National Union of Students, the peak representative body for Australian higher education students, said young Aussies had been “left behind yet again”.

“Labor has delivered an extremely lacklustre budget that offers crumbs for young Australians,” she said.

Another person currently receiving Youth Allowance said it would be impossible for them to survive on the payments.

“I am lucky enough to live at home and have most of my meals paid for but still couldn’t survive on just youth allowance and have a car (which I need for my uni degree, which prevents me from working as much, which is why I am on youth allowance, etc etc),” the 22-year-old said.

For those on rent assistance, PropTrack Senior Economist Eleanor Creagh said that, even with the increase, the payment still falls well below the rate at which rents are increasing across the country.

One in three households that rent are more likely to be younger Australians, on lower incomes, with less wealth than owner-occupiers, and typically a lower savings buffer.

“This increase to Commonwealth Rent Assistance is the largest in more than 30 years, but rent assistance payments have long fallen behind soaring rental prices,” Ms Creagh said.

“In the capital cities rental prices are up 18 per cent on pre-pandemic levels, while in regional areas rents are up 23 per cent.

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“Capital city rental markets are significantly undersupplied. As a result, prices are rising briskly and vacancy rates trending lower.”

She said without a meaningful increase on rental supply on the horizon, prices are going to continue to grow, spelling even more trouble for already struggling renters.

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