Understanding the Australian Budget 2024-25: Insights and Implications for Not-For-Profit Organisations

General

The 2024-25 Australian Budget has been unveiled, bringing with it a raft of measures aimed at strengthening the economy while addressing social issues, ranging from health and education to sustainability and infrastructure.

As Not-for-Profit organisations navigate this new financial landscape, understanding the key allocations and their potential impact is crucial for planning and operation.

 

Key Highlights of the Budget

Increased Funding for Legal Assistance

The government has dedicated $44.1 million towards legal assistance, which includes a one-year indexation supplementation for legal aid commissions, community legal centres, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services.

This investment aims to address pay disparities within the community legal sector and bolster support for vulnerable groups, echoing the Community Legal Centres’ assertion that every dollar spent on legal assistance yields significant community and governmental benefits.

 

Support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities

A commitment of $43.1 million over four years has been made to improve justice outcomes for First Nation individuals and families. This includes funds for preserving native title records and addressing legal disputes, extending family dispute resolution pilot programs, and continuing the Justice Policy Partnership to reduce youth incarceration rates.

 

Measures Against Domestic and Gender-Based Violence

The budget earmarks $925.5 million for initiatives to combat violence against women. This includes funding for individual support packages, expansion of the Escaping Violence Payment, and specific legal assistance for temporary visa holders affected by violence.

Another $16.5 million over five years will provide legal assistance for temporary visa holders leaving violent relationships. Women’s Legal Services Australia chair Elena Rosenman said women’s legal services are an “essential part” of the safety net for women in crisis.

“Women affected by gender-based violence need to understand their legal options, have advice and representation through legal processes, and support to manage safety risks that often escalate during engagement with legal processes. With adequate and secure funding, this is exactly the support our services can provide,”  Rosenman said.

 

Support for Mental Health Initiatives

Recognising the growing need for mental health support, the budget includes specific funding for mental health initiatives.

In addition, the budget includes funding for a new initiative, titled “the National Early Intervention Service” which will provide between five and 10 free sessions of cognitive-based therapy for “low-intensity” issues. This creates opportunities for NFPs that specialise in mental health to access additional resources and funding.

 

Boost for Educational Programs

With significant investment in education, NFPs involved in educational programs, especially those focused on disadvantaged groups, will find more opportunities for partnership and funding.

 

Focus on Sustainability

The budget allocates funds towards sustainability initiatives, which could benefit NFPs working on environmental issues. This includes grants for projects aimed at conservation and renewable energy, providing a pathway for NFPs to contribute to Australia’s sustainability goals.

In addition, this funding will extend Australia’s sustainable finance taxonomy to the agriculture sector and developing a labelling regime for financial products marketed as sustainable.

 

Enhancements in Health Sector Funding

An increase in health sector funding, particularly in areas like aged care and public health, means that NFPs in these sectors can expect greater support. This is crucial as the demand for health services continues to rise with an aging population.

The budget includes $2.8 billion investments to strengthen Medicare, $4.3bn to deliver cheaper medicines and $1.3 billion for a fit and healthy Australia. Other key highlights include: $227.0 million to grow the number of Medicare Urgent Care Clinics and $882.2 million to take pressure off hospitals.

 

Challenges and Considerations

While the budget presents some opportunities, it also poses challenges, particularly in the realm of competitive grant processes. NFPs will need to enhance their grant writing skills and demonstrate strong outcomes to secure funding.

Additionally, the shift towards digital transformation in government processes will require NFPs to invest in technology and skills development.

 

How We Can Assist

At The Breakthrough Office, we understand the unique challenges faced by Not-for-Profit organisations, particularly in adapting to new budgets and fiscal policies.

As many Not-for-Profit organisations are currently undertaking their own budgeting processes, we recommend reaching out to us to discuss how you should be strategically planning to best position your organisation in this financial climate.

 

Conclusion

The Australian Budget 2024-25 brings a mix of challenges and opportunities for the Not-for-Profit sector. By understanding these dynamics and preparing strategically, NFPs can not only navigate these changes effectively but can also enhance their impact on the community they serve.

For more detailed analysis and tailored advice, The Breakthrough Office is here to support your organisation every step of the way.

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