Close Search
News  |  GovernmentPolitics

2022 federal budget wrap

26 October 2022 at 4:57 pm
Ruby Kraner-Tucci
The final verdicts are in, with climate, housing and families coming out on top, while the sector criticised a lack of funding for refugee services, NDIS and social welfare.

Ruby Kraner-Tucci | 26 October 2022 at 4:57 pm


2022 federal budget wrap
26 October 2022 at 4:57 pm

The final verdicts are in, with climate, housing and families coming out on top, while the sector criticised a lack of funding for refugee services, NDIS and social welfare.

The Albanese government’s first federal budget delivered a mixed bag for the for-purpose sector, with many saying the “responsible budget” was a success – although not without its limitations. 

Pro Bono News brings you a wrap of key coverage from across budget night, including critical insights from sector leaders. 

For an at-a-glance summary, see our budget infographic for the winners and losers and top takeaways. Meanwhile, our budget preview and round-up showcase what the social sector was looking for in this year’s second federal budget.

Aged care

The Albanese government is committing to ensuring “older Australians have the support, care and dignity they deserve” with budget funding that addresses the tumultuous culture and conditions of aged care exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the aged care sector will receive $2.5 billion dollars over four years, little was done to address the rising cost of living on older Australians, including those on low-income and pensions who are in the rental market.

See more: What does the budget mean for Medicare, medicines, aged care and First Nations health?


A whole raft of natural disaster, conservation and renewable energy initiatives were funded in the climate-focused federal budget, which was delivered against a backdrop of major flooding across the south-east coast of the country.

All up, total climate-related spending was reported to come in at $25 billion in the years to 2030. To safeguard Australia’s future from the effects of climate change, the government has enshrined in law emissions reduction targets of 43 per cent by 2030 and net zero by 2050.

World Wide Fund for Nature Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman welcomed the spending, saying it takes “positive steps towards addressing climate change and halting biodiversity loss” but warned that more measures are required.

“Australia’s growing threatened species list is a direct result of decades of inadequate funding for the environment. We can turn this around, but it’s going to take action and investment of the kind we’ve never seen before.

“We heard a lot in this budget about an uncertain world, but also that Australia has put ‘environment back on the agenda’. If Australia is to secure a Nature Positive future, our government will need to show strong and ambitious leadership at the upcoming global biodiversity conference (COP15) because when we regenerate Australia, both people and nature benefit.”

See more: ESG Markers: budget edition special

Community services

The community sector is giving a mixed reception to the federal budget.

The early $560 million investment in community services was commended, as was the funding boost for volunteers, however the lack of movement on JobSeeker rates was criticised, especially as the government issues its divisive stage 3 tax cuts.

Speaking in a webinar run by Pro Bono News, ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie stood with the sector in voicing concern about the lack of increase to social welfare, which is currently sitting below the poverty line.

“We would have wanted to see that increase to social security payments delivered as quickly and urgently as possible because we are hearing stories from all over the country of what it’s like to be on those very low fixed income support payments in the face of those big increases in rent and energy prices – and it comes down to choices about keeping the lights on or affording to buy food.”


Labor’s first budget funds a number of initiatives related to the government’s pledge to improve the NDIS, as its cost tops $166 billion. This includes $18.1 million over two years from 2022-23 for the promised NDIS review.

But disability advocates argue that the NDIS didn’t get anywhere near the amount of attention it deserved in the budget, with all eyes on the May budget next year to right the wrongs.

Domestic violence

The Albanese government is delivering a record $1.7 billion investment over six years to end violence against women and children. The majority of the funding was awarded to implement the long-awaited 10-year National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children that aims to end gender-based violence in one generation.

Despite the federal budget’s clear focus on women, it fails to meet sector demand, with experts calling for a minimum $1 billion per year investment to appropriately protect women and children’s safety.

See more: We can’t ignore the data on children any longer

Foreign aid

After a 31 per cent cut to aid over a decade, the budget brought welcome news on development policy, with spending on development assistance totalling $4.65 billion in the current year.

Oxfam Australia chief executive Lyn Morgain welcomed the announcement but said there was still significant work to do, particularly as the budget did not increase global humanitarian spending “at a time when the needs across the globe have never been greater”.

“In a world wracked by increasing inequality exacerbated by conflict, COVID-19 and climate change, this budget is a promising first step towards re-engaging with our global community.”

“Despite these announcements, Australia’s aid budget still remains stubbornly at just 0.2 per cent of GNI – well below the recommended 0.7 per cent target. We can and must do better. What’s more, while the slightly widened footprint of our aid program to include significantly more funds for south-east Asia is pleasing, we must recognise the responsibilities we hold beyond the region, as well.”

See more: Budget throws a line to neighbours, falls short on global development commitments


Treasurer Jim Chalmers’ first budget marks the start of a spending bonanza on housing, with the centrepiece of the spend being the announcement of the National Housing Accord, aimed at addressing the supply and affordability of housing.

The budget commits an initial $350 million in funding for another 10,000 new affordable homes through the accord, on top of the government’s election commitments to build 30,000 new social and affordable homes. State and territory governments will also kick in with up to 10,000 new affordable homes.

See more: Housing undertaking could be huge impact investing opportunity

The budget also commits $13.4 million over four years, and $4.2 million each year ongoing, to develop a 10-year National Housing and Homelessness Plan in 2023. 

While the funding was welcomed by the sector, some voiced concern at the long-term nature of the plans as well as no commitment to reviewing or increasing Commonwealth Rent Assistance or income support payments.

See more: Wellbeing budget could put a dent in youth homelessness


Indigenous health is a winner in the Albanese government’s first budget, with $314 million in funding, though only $30 million of that will be spent this financial year. 

Funding for First Nations-led diversion programs, early Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander childhood services, and a Makarrata Commission to oversee treaty-making and truth-telling processes, were also included in the budget.

Speaking in a webinar run by Pro Bono News, assistant charities minister Andrew Leigh said there would be more spending on Indigenous affairs in the next budget.

“We’re certainly going to have to do more. This is a huge national challenge. I think we as a nation are all diminished when the gaps are as wide as they are and suddenly failing to close. Doing more to address all of those gaps, including employment, education and life expectancy gaps, is a national project and core business for the Albanese government.”

Mental health

Investment in mental health initiatives in the budget are limited. Funding of $24.3 million over four years from 2022-23 will be provided to improve access to mental health services.

This funding for mental health did not go unnoticed by the sector.

Refugees and asylum seekers

Writing exclusively for Pro Bono News, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre’s Kon Karapanagiotidis OAM and Jana Favero remarked, “what wasn’t in the budget tells us a lot and there is a lack of detail or spending to implement the government’s commitment to refugee policy.”

“The ALP platform contains many excellent improvements to refugee and asylum policy such as increased humanitarian intake, permanent protection, funded legal services, and safety net – however, none of this has appeared in the budget.”

Ruby Kraner-Tucci  |  @ProBonoNews

Ruby Kraner-Tucci is a journalist, with a special interest in culture, community and social affairs. Reach her at


What next on government engagement?

Neil Pharaoh

Monday, 27th March 2023 at 12:12 pm

Embedding gender equity in government engagement

Ellen McLoughlin

Wednesday, 8th March 2023 at 10:19 pm

Businesses on notice as ACCC sweeps covers off greenwashing

Danielle Kutchel

Friday, 3rd March 2023 at 3:16 pm

ASIC launches first greenwashing court action

Isabelle Oderberg

Tuesday, 28th February 2023 at 8:28 am

pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook