Navigating the 2024-25 Federal Budget: A Focus on Housing and Cost-of-Living Relief

In a climate of economic uncertainty and rising living costs, Treasurer Jim Chalmers presented the eagerly awaited federal budget for 2024–25 to Parliament, outlining measures aimed at easing the burden on Australian households. As housing remains a central topic in political, social, and economic discourse, the budget addresses critical issues concerning both accommodation and affordability. While strides have been made to bolster housing construction and provide immediate relief, some gaps in support, particularly for small-scale investors, raise questions about inclusivity and long-term sustainability.

Supporting Mum and Dad Investors:

While applauding the government's commitment to cost-of-living measures and the construction of new homes, One Agency Fraser Coast highlights the absence of investor tax incentives, particularly impacting mum and dad investors striving to maintain their investment properties. Recognising the challenges faced by these individuals amidst market fluctuations, we advocate for measures to support their role in the housing market.

Housing Initiatives Unveiled:

Chalmers’ budget speech outlined a comprehensive plan to address housing shortages and alleviate pressures on renters and homeowners alike. The Homes for Australia plan, with its $32 billion investment since 2022, underscores the government's dedication to tackling housing issues head-on. Notable allocations include funds for social and affordable housing, crisis support, and infrastructure development to support residential expansion.

Rent Assistance and Inflation Management:

The increase in Commonwealth Rent Assistance by 10%, alongside energy bill relief, aims to directly alleviate cost-of-living pressures for renters and homeowners. These measures not only provide immediate relief but also contribute to managing inflation, aligning with the Reserve Bank of Australia's targets.

Boosting Construction Workforce:

Investments in education and training for construction careers signify a concerted effort to address skill shortages and bolster the workforce. Fee-free TAFE training places and apprenticeship incentives demonstrate a commitment to nurturing talent and sustaining growth in the construction sector.

Simplifying Processes and Promoting Gender Equality:

Efforts to streamline skill assessments for migrant workers and initiatives like the Building Women's Careers program promote inclusivity and diversity within the construction industry. Moreover, enlisting real estate agents in anti-money laundering efforts underscores the government's commitment to combatting financial crime and ensuring transparency.

Foreign Investment and Small Business Support:

The budget outlines measures to enhance the transparency and efficiency of foreign investment processes, balancing the need for capital inflows with safeguarding national interests. Additionally, small businesses receive continued support through initiatives like the instant asset write-off and mental health and financial counseling services.

As Australia grapples with economic challenges and housing disparities, the 2024-25 federal budget presents a multifaceted approach to address these issues. While commendable strides have been made to support housing construction and provide relief to households, concerns linger regarding the inclusivity of support measures, particularly for small-scale investors. Moving forward, a collaborative effort between government, industry stakeholders, and communities will be vital in realising the vision of a more equitable and sustainable housing landscape.