The Federal Budget – What’s in it for Australia’s CALD Community?

This year’s Federal Budget was always going to be a challenging budget to deliver. In 2020 Australia has seen natural disasters, a declining economy and, through it all, has had to manage the COVID-19 outbreak. Of all the issues, COVID-19 has had the most significant impact on Australia’s economy. Like many, this has affected the Australian CALD community in many ways. Loss of jobs, COVID-19 infections and associated health concerns, businesses shut down and a lack of family and social connection.

The positives

The LOTE Agency has reviewed the budget and, through feedback from its CALD network communities, welcomes the investment in youth employment, mental health and social cohesion. Our community also welcomes positive reforms for migrant and refugee youth, including the extension of the Adult Migrant English Program and the strengthening of family violence protections in partner visa processes.

This year’s budget at a glance:

  • The underlying cash deficit in 2020-21 is expected to be $213.7 billion (11.0 per cent of GDP).
  • Gross debt is expected to be 44.8 per cent of GDP at the end of 2020-21, increasing to 51.6 per cent of GDP by the end of the forward estimates. 
  • The 2020-21 Budget includes $98 billion in response and recovery support for COVID-19.
  • $74 billion under the JobMaker Plan.

Reduction in humanitarian intake

In this year’s budget there’s a reduction in the humanitarian intake for people seeking refugee status in Australia. The new cap of 13,750 places a year is down from 18,750. Additionally, the budget outlined that all applicants for partner visas would need to take an English language test.

Regional CALD communities

In Australia, there are a large number of CALD communities living and working in regional Australia. In the Agriculture, Water and Environment Portfolio, the Government is providing $234 million. The Government is providing an additional $200 million for the fifth round of the Building Better Regions Fund. $100 million of which will be targeting regional tourism projects. The budget also indicated that the Government’s plan of moving public service agencies outside of Australia’s capital cities is still on track.

Health 

In the health portfolio, the budget outlines $115.5 billion in 2020-21 and $467 billion investment over four years, including more than $16.5 billion as part of the emergency health response. Medicare funding will be boosted by $6 billion over the Budget cycle and new hospital funding by $33.6 billion, over the new five-year National Health Reform.

If you’re wondering how the budget might affect your community, or your approach to engaging CALD audiences, get in touch today.

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