Treasurer Jim Chalmers has characterised his second Federal Budget since the Albanese Government has been in office as promising support and relief for the millions of Australians struggling through a cost-of-living crisis.  

The Budget, released on 9 May, centres on a $14.6 billion cost of living package, in addition to targeted measures to the most vulnerable Australians: older, unemployed individuals, aged care workers, and single parents. 

In the lead up to Budget night on Tuesday, the Government highlighted its priority concerns: housing, a revamp of the NDIS system, older Australians on unemployment benefits, and energy costs as priority concerns.  

Following the reveal, Chalmers told ABC News: “We’re taking seriously the inflation challenge,” and referred to the cost-of-living package and “responsible economic management” the Budget offers. 

Chalmers described the first Budget surplus in 15 years of $4.2 billion as “an historic turnaround.” 

Gigi Foster, Professor at the UNSW Business School’s School of Economics, told LSJ, “This budget, like its predecessors, is chiefly an exercise is placating the masses. it contains handouts to various different groups whom the politicians sense will be particularly struggling at the moment due to cost-of-living increases, and whose votes they are hence most worried about. This is a continuation of the Australian cultural habit that when things get tough, the people look to the government to get them out of it, and the government knows this, so they deliver scraps to the masses in order to try to pacify them.” 

Here is a summary of announcements from the 2023–2024 Federal Budget relevant to Australia’s legal profession. 

Cyber security 

The Budget includes a range of measures around cyber security, including:  

  • $2 billion in government digital solutions
  • $86.5 million for an anti-scam centre, supporting ASIC’s anti-investment-scam work and establishing an SMS sender ID registry
  • $44.3 million for the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC), to support the new Privacy Commissioner and enhance regulatory and analytic capacity.

Lyria Bennett Moses is Director of the UNSW Allens Hub for Technology, Law and Innovation and a Professor and Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Law and Justice at UNSW Sydney. She is also Faculty lead in the UNSW Institute for Cyber Security. 

She says, of the $88.8 million allocated to supporting the consumer data right, “I was pleased to see that this includes a cyber-security uplift.

“Funding to the OAIC is welcome, particularly given that data protection is important not only for its own sake but also because it is an essential ingredient for cyber security. Less data circulating about me, and more secure storage of that data, reduces my risk of identity theft and scams.” 

“The proposed in-house cyber warden training program is an intriguing idea, and I look forward to hearing more as it develops. It seems this focuses on response rather than prevention, but possibly increased awareness and planning will ultimately assist with both.” 

Excerpt from article from LSJ Online, reported by Cat Woods, read the full article here.