Delivering the first labor budget in almost a decade, Treasurer Tim Chalmers called it “solid, sensible and suited to the times” at the announcement on Tuesday night.
With inflation set to peak at 7.75 per cent in the December quarter, the budget delivered few surprises and mainly focused on budgetary repair, easing the cost of living concerns and supporting Australian families.
Tanya Barden, CEO of The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC), praised the Albanese government’s focus on rebuilding Australian industry, which has taken hit after hit in the last few years from COVID-19, natural disasters and resulting supply chain disruptions.
“The Albanese government’s focus on investing in industry, regional growth and building the skilled workforce of the future is welcome,” she said.
“The governments $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund is a recognition of the critical importance of domestic industry and sovereign manufacturing capabilities in Australia.
“The AFGC represents Australia’s $133.6 billion food and grocery manufacturing industry, the largest manufacturing sector in the country, and we look forward to working with the government to help create the strong manufacturing capabilities that will secure the nations future,” said Barden.
As well as a focus on rebuilding industry, small businesses will benefit from social reforms, including greater access to childcare and paid parental leave for workers, with $4.7 billion pledged to childcare over the next four years.
As the cost of living continues to rise in conjunction with the economy slowing, the government hopes greater access to childcare support will encourage higher workforce participation as business face a continuing job and skills crisis, with job vacancies currently over 46,000.
In addition, increased permanent migration levels will be raised from 160,000 to 195,000, further helping to ease critical workforce pressures.