Event: ACCI chief executive Andrew McKellar and AMA president Professor Steve Robson interview with Natalie Barr and Matt Shirvington on Sunrise.

Topics: Budget 2024-25



Natalie Barr: Australia’s health sector received a major boost in last night’s budget with new funding on the way for 29 urgent care clinics and extra financial support for student healthcare workers.

Matt Shirvington: On the business front, the government has also committed more than $560 million to support Australian innovation and industry. And one million small businesses will receive $325 in energy bill relief. To unpack, let’s bring in Andrew McKellar from the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and President of the Australian Medical Association, Professor Steve Robson. Good morning to you. First to you Andrew. The Treasurer is confident his Budget won’t further fuel inflation and predicts inflation will fall to between two and three per cent by December, which is look a little bit earlier than the RBAs forecast. Right. So are you concerned that they’re going to get it right?

Andrew McKellar: Good morning, Shirvo. Good morning, Nat. Great to be with you. Look, I think we’re cautious about those forecasts. I think it’s great that the government has got a second budget surplus, so that shows that they’ve been responsible in the last 12 months. But if we look ahead over the next couple of years, then we see deficits reemerging. We see spending going up. And in that sort of context, it’s very difficult for that to take heat out of the economy, to keep inflation going lower. We’ll see what the Reserve Bank thinks, but it would be hard to imagine that this Budget would bring forward the date on which the Reserve Bank would start lowering interest rates.

Natalie Barr: Lots of opinions around this morning. People want to know how it’s going to help them. What about small businesses? Is there enough support for them?

Andrew McKellar: Small business is doing it extremely tough at the moment. They’ve been facing rising costs just as households have. There’s slim pickings in the budget for small business. So there are a couple of things that are welcome. Certainly the extension of energy bill relief, which will reach a number of small businesses projected about a million. That’s useful. There’s an extension of the instant asset write-off. Again, that’s just been legislated from last year. So I think if the government gets on and processes that quickly, then those are boosts for small business. But beyond that, we’re not seeing a whole lot.

Matt Shirvington: There needs to be more on that. Steve, let’s go to you. Healthcare, significant new funding on the way for aged care, public hospital, student healthcare workers. Some of that delayed though. Is that what you are hoping for?

Steve Robson: I think we had a sense of disappointment with the Budget last night, and a lot of patients, people want to know that they can get an appointment to see a GP, that they can afford that care, that all of the hundreds of thousands of Australians who are waiting for planned surgery around the country can have their operations done. And people with chronic problems like mental health will get support. And I don’t think we’ve seen a lot of funding going to any of those in the budget last night. These urgent care clinics, they’ll be a help. They look urgent care clinics are somewhat controversial. There’s not a lot of, they serve their purpose, which is keeping Australians out of emergency departments. We feel that the best way to keep Australians out of emergency departments is to make sure they can see a GP and get great care. So we’re a little disappointed with the announcements last night, but we’re hoping to keep working with the government as we move forward so that Australians can get the care they need, the operations they need as soon as they need them.

Matt Shirvington: Okay. Andrew, Steve, thanks for cutting through some of the detail for us.

Ashley Gardiner

Director - Media and Communications

P: 0262708020
E: media@acci.com.au

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