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Exclusive Budget Update for ASU Social & Community members

10 May 2023 By ASU

ASU Budget 2023   SACSThe 2023-24 Federal Budget has just been announced. So what does it all mean for you?

Tonight’s Federal Budget provides substantial funding to community services and cost of living relief for those most in need. While increases to Job Seeker and Rent Assistance are welcome more must be done to lift people out of poverty.

Here is a summary of some of the key measures in the Federal Budget tonight and how they impact ASU members working in disability and social and community services.

Community sector funding

  • $590m additional funding to the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children.
  • Abolishing the Parents NEXT Program and instead designing a voluntary system that genuinely supports mothers preparing for work.
  • $424m in additional spending to help Close the Gap
  • $220m in funding to the states for new 500 community sector and frontline workers
  • $65.7m to save homelessness services and frontline jobs.
  • $9m to extend the Youth Transition Support Scheme for 12 months
  • $260m over 2 years to extend psychosocial supports for people with severe mental health concerns who are not in the NDIS
  • $8.7m to establish 2 independent national mental health lived experience peak bodies
  • $136m over 4 years from July for the Program of Assistance for Survivors of Torture and Trauma
  • $17.8m to upskill mental health capabilities of the broader health workforce

All increases in community sector funding are welcome – we know our services need more support to meet the needs of their communities.


The Government announced a new consistent way of providing indexation to community services each year, which amounts to $4 billion in additional funding to our sector over 4 years.

This is something the ASU has been calling for. But we need to ensure that this will adequately cover the 7% wage increase we are advocating for in the Annual Wage Review.

Take action and find out what a 7% wage increase could mean for you.

Wages must keep up with the cost of living and service funding must be adequately indexed to ensure wages across the community sector value the work you do.

NDIS funding

The Government has said that “The NDIS is here to stay” and they are going to spend an additional $910 million over 4 years to improve the NDIS and safeguard people with a disability.

This will include:

  • Extra staff and training for workers at the NDIA,
  • Funding to explore longer term plans that are more flexible for participants,
  • The establishment of a “home and living panel” to make consistent decisions about supported independent living plans,
  • Cracking down on fraud and non-compliance by providers in the NDIS
  • $41 million for supported employment services providers to provide a broader range of opportunities for people with disability
  • Extending paid COVID leave arrangements for workers in the NDIS who have to stay away from work if they have COVID to protect their participants.

The Government has also said it will fund an extra 300,000 free TAFE places for the next 2 years – including for workers in the NDIS.

The Government has said bigger changes are coming when it finishes its review of the NDIS in October. This means we need to keep the pressure on the Government to deliver better jobs and training for NDIS workers as part of that review.

That’s why the ASU is calling a National Week of Action for the Best NDIS in the week of June 26th to keep the pressure on and to work with good providers, participants and their families to ensure that we protect and improve the NDIS for everyone.

We will be updating members with how to get involved in the NDIS week of action in June shortly!

Mental health

  • $260m over 2 years to extend psychosocial supports for people with severe mental health concerns who are not in the NDIS
  • $8.7m to establish 2 independent national mental health lived-experience peak bodies
  • $17.8m to upskill mental health capabilities of the broader health workforce

Raise The Rate

No one should live in poverty. The increases announced in tonight’s budget to Job Seeker and Rent Assistance are welcome, but they do not go far enough to lift people out of poverty.

We are calling on the Government to increase income support payments by a minimum of $25 a day.

Momentum is on our side – in just a few weeks our sector has built an amazing coalition of community support.

Add your voice and sign the open letter to Raise the Rate

Cost of Living relief

A range of new measures have been announced in the Budget to support members with cost-of-living relief, including:

  • Less out of pocket costs to go to the doctor. $3.5b to triple bulk-billing for children under the age of 16, pensioners and concession card holders.
  • Increasing rent assistance. $2.7b over five years to help 1.1 million Australians with cost of rent– the highest increase in more than 30 years.
  • $3b in energy bill relief with up to $500 for households
  • Reducing the cost of medicines by cutting the number of visits to a pharmacy and putting more medicines on the PBS
  • Extending the First Home Guarantee which provides up to 15% of the property price purchase
  • More investment in social and affordable housing by allowing community housing providers to borrow more money at reduced rates to build housing.

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