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Albanese government’s first budget delivers election promises but forecasts soaring power prices

Michelle Grattan writes in The Conversation (25.10.22) about the newly announced federal budget, delivering on some of Labor’s key election pledges.

‘Treasurer Jim Chalmers has brought down a no-surprises budget that delivers Labor’s election promises but warns Australians “hard decisions” are needed for the “hard days to come”.

‘The government has kept its spending tight, and returned nearly all the substantial revenue upgrade to budget repair, declaring it has put a “premium on restraint”.

‘New policies have been largely offset across this year and next year to avoid adding to the inflationary problem. But the budget contains alarming news for households, with its estimates of soaring energy prices.

‘… The first “wellbeing” budget statement, “Measuring What Matters” finds Australia did as well as or better than the OECD average on 21 out of 32 indicators. But Australia did worse (and is declining) on women feeling safe, threatened species and household debt.’

Chalmers hasn’t delivered a wellbeing budget, but it’s a step in the right direction

Warwick Smith writes in The Conversation (26.10.22) about the federal budget’s ambitions to improve Australians’ wellness, arguing that, while the  budget contains many measures that might contribute to wellbeing, that’s not the same as being a ‘wellbeing budget’.

‘It was billed as Australia’s first wellbeing budget. But, five months into a new government, with so many economic fires to fight, Treasurer Jim Chalmers’ first budget was never going to be that.

‘Instead, he’s taken the first step: to get a sense of what we want for society and measuring how we’re doing. The budget papers refer to this as “measuring what matters”:

‘”Indicators that measure broader quality of life factors should be considered in addition to, not instead of, traditional macroeconomic measures. When policy processes consider these outcomes, they facilitate more holistic discussions of the type of economy and society Australians want to build together.”

‘The main commitment is to produce a “Measuring What Matters Statement” in 2023 that will lay out the government’s proposed wellbeing measures, drawing on international frameworks established over the past half-century.

‘A holistic wellbeing approach enables us to look at the root causes of problems, instead of simply devising policies to treat the symptoms (vital though that is in the short term).’

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