17.05.2021Federal Government Budget 2021-22

Big spending welcome but opportunities remain for a long-term, ambitious productivity agenda

The 2021 Federal Budget is one of the largest spending budgets in Australia’s history – not surprising given the COVID-induced economic upheaval and ongoing uncertainty. How the budget will be judged depends on its capacity to shape the future liveability and prosperity of Australia.

The significance of this budget and those that follow will have consequences for decades. Therefore, it must create a vision for a prosperous future, that improves productivity and provides the foundations for the type of Australia we want to have.

There is much to like in the budget, especially in areas that will contribute to skills and productivity growth. One of the cornerstones of this budget is the guarantee of essential services, particularly for aged care, mental health, childcare, disability support and domestic violence victims. The return of a dialogue and strategies focused on women is welcome. Job creation and investment are prioritised, with transport infrastructure, digital transformation and skills development featuring prominently. The $1 billion JobTrainer program which will allow individuals aged between 17 and 24 to access free or low-fee courses to help reduce skill shortages, as well as funding for apprentices, are welcome steps in driving skills development.

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