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The budget’s impact on the not-for-profit sector

5 min read

Following Treasurer Jim Chalmers’ introduction of the Federal Budget for 2023-24 in Parliament House in Canberra, nonprofit organisations voiced mixed sentiments.  

While sectors such as healthcare, housing and education are expected to benefit from the new budget, it’s probable that organisations that lobby for other advocacies will have to work harder to receive it.    

“While we can remain optimistic, the government will need to balance a range of budget concerns. Getting philanthropy inside to investment, in addition, is vital for not-for-profit organisations in 2023,” said Jo Scard, Fifty Acres CEO.   

With the increased funding for various sectors of the NFP sector, here is what is going to impact the sector:  


The cost-of-living crisis being greatly exacerbated, the Treasurer’s relief package is like a breath of fresh air. However, organisations like ACOSS and Anglicare expressed concern over the relief not being a permanent solution unless people on JobSeeker and other Centrelink payments are lifted out of poverty.  

“Living costs are spiralling. Essentials like food and transport are shooting up, and housing is more expensive than ever,” said Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers.  

“JobSeeker and other Centrelink payments will still lag the poverty line by hundreds of dollars, with small increases being dwarfed by rent rises,” added Chambers.   

ACOSS CEO, Dr Cassandra Goldie acknowledged the positives the 2023-24 Budget brought especially for the Aged Care sector but highlighted that even with the increase to base rates on JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and Rent Assistance, more than one million people will still be in poverty.   

“We will work every day to ensure income support payments are lifted so that they cover the essentials – $52.85 a day is not enough for people on Jobseeker. $42.85 is not enough for people on Youth Allowance,” said Dr Cassandra.   

“We congratulate everyone who campaigned strongly for a substantial increase to JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and related payments in this budget. While tonight’s increase is well below what is required, we believe without your advocacy, there may have been no increase at all.”  

Community Services  

The budget brings funding for community services to the forefront with the announcement of a $4 billion injection of funding that will fund wages for community service workers.   

“The cost of living has skyrocketed, but so has the cost of delivering community services, which are needed now more than ever. It’s a perfect storm, and we need to navigate that storm by backing community service organisations who are closest to those directly affected and who are the best placed to help,” said Violet Roumeliotis, SSI CEO.   

Roumeliotis highlighted that a combination of inadequate indexation, rising wages, rising operational costs, and more are putting tremendous financial strain on organisations that provide settlement services.  

However, SSI welcomed the Federal Government’s plans to enable refugees and migrants who have been in Australia for longer than five years and have unresolved settlement-related needs to be able to access support. 

Migrant and Refugees 

This year’s budget invests in a better migration system and increases the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold to $70,000.  

AMES Australia welcomes the 2023 Federal Budget and particularly the cost-of-living measures that will give relief to vulnerable families and individuals, including migrants and refugees. 

“We know that migration is a key driver of our economic prosperity and it has made us the vibrant multicultural nation we are. We see making the most the skills migrants bring with them as a key element in Australia’s future economic success,” added AMES Australia CEO, Cath Scarth. 

In contrast, Mums 4 Refugees National Convenor, Dulce Munoz her disappointed with the Federal Budget outcomes.  

“The federal government has missed yet another opportunity to drive real change. There is a range of benefits refugees bring to the communities they settle in, and this is backed by various studies,” said Munoz.  

“Despite the government’s ongoing talks around change and supporting our most vulnerable communities, we are still lacking tangible action from our leaders. It’s time Australia finally treated refugees and asylum seekers with humanity, and financially it makes sense, too.” 

Aid Budget 

ACFID and Plan International Australia welcome the 2023-24 Federal Budget’s measures towards improving Official Development Assistance, describing them as “responsible and sustainable.” 

Plan International highlighted the Government’s ongoing commitment to the foreign aid budget, particularly in the current fiscal environment.

While the Budget contains only modest immediate measures aimed at boosting ODA, ACFID recognises the Government is devoted to sequenced increases of 2.5 per cent per year over the long term from 2026-27 onwards. 

According to Plan International Australia CEO Susanne Legena, development assistance remains one of the most impactful investments alongside diplomatic efforts to influence and support equity, peace and economic development in the region and the world over and stressed the importance of a foreign aid budget that matches the growing need.  


Organisations across the NFP sector such as Mission Australia Plan International Australia hoped to see more investment in the Education sector.  

“We are disappointed that the Australian Government has not included a pledge to Education Cannot Wait, the UN Global Fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises, in this year’s budget,” said Susanne Legena. 

According to the charity organisation’s recent report, 3.8 million children in the Pacific are at risk of losing access to their schooling due to climate-induced disasters, highlighting the urgent need for investment in education for children in humanitarian emergencies.    

“We particularly hoped to see a commitment to more Youth Foyers nationwide to provide vital housing, education and employment opportunities and help young people who are homeless or at risk to thrive,” said Sharon Callister, Mission Australia CEO.  

Callister highlighted that education and the employment opportunities it provided have been proven to break cycles of homelessness and disadvantage for young people.  


This year’s budget for primary care, aged care and mental health has been received very well by many healthcare charities and organisations.  

VMCH, AMES Australia, Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association and The National Mental Health Consumer Alliance welcome the commitments made by the Australian Government.  

‘This Budget shows that the Federal Government is committed to investing in some of the critical enablers to make this happen,’ says AHHA Chief Executive Kylie Woolcock. 

The Australian Government committed $101.0 billion to health, $36.0 billion to aged care, and $563.1 million to sports over a four-year period, bringing the total commitment to $580 billion. 

“We welcome the government’s commitment to a $91.3 million package over 5 years for training for psychologists. This will go some way to addressing the issue of long waiting lists for consumers to access psychological support,” said Priscilla Brice, BEING CEO.  

“The Alliance is pleased to see that $10.5 million has been committed to support the mental health of First Nations people around the referendum to enshrine an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice in the Constitution,” added Brice.  

While AMES Australia CEO Cath Scarth welcomes the increased funding for Medicare which will see $5.7 billion spent on lowering the cost of visiting a doctor,  VMCH CEO Sonya Smart is being “cautiously optimistic” for the future sustainability of the aged care sector.  

“We are cautiously optimistic these announcements will translate into sustainable sector reforms,” added Smart.  

Related: Opinion: Budget Hints at Future Not-for-Profit Help 

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Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.


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