Home Australia Australians react with fury to Jim Chalmers’ Budget as voters say they DON’T want $300 energy rebate and Treasurer is torn apart on live TV… as experts warn handouts could spark economic disaster

Australians react with fury to Jim Chalmers’ Budget as voters say they DON’T want $300 energy rebate and Treasurer is torn apart on live TV… as experts warn handouts could spark economic disaster

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Treasurer Jim Chalmers (R) has come under fire for the $300 energy bill rebate in this year's federal budget.

Australian voters have vowed to boycott Labor in the next federal election over what has been described as “the most irresponsible budget in recent memory”.

This year’s Federal Budget, released on Tuesday night by Treasurer Jim Chalmers, promised every Australian household – no matter how much they earn – a $300 payment to ease the pressure of rising energy bills.

While the relief will be a much-needed respite for many, experts fear it will only fuel skyrocketing inflation, with wealthier Australians questioning why they are being offered extra money when they don’t need it.

‘A flat figure of $300 in energy aid is a lazy and reckless policy. “Rich Australians don’t need it, and many struggling Australians need a lot more,” wrote one online voter.

‘I don’t need $300 off my energy bills. Centrelink people need enough money to live,” wrote another.

‘Why is everyone getting a $300 energy rebate?’ There are some people who are really struggling right now, there are others who are doing well. “Why throw money at those whose spending has not decreased, when others choose between food and heat?” asked another.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers (R) has come under fire for the $300 energy bill rebate in this year’s federal budget.

Australian voters criticized Dr Chalmers (left) and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (right) for offering payment to Australians

Australian voters criticized Dr Chalmers (left) and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (right) for offering the payment to “rich” Australians who don’t need it, rather than putting the money towards better causes.

An angry Australian called the Prime Minister directly and told him the money would have been better spent helping solve the housing crisis.

‘Hi Anthony Albanese, thanks for saving $300 on my energy bill. The only problem is I don’t have a damn energy bill because I can’t afford to live anywhere,” they said.

George Washington University professor Steven Hamilton said his eyes bulged when he first read the Budget, describing it as “the most irresponsible in recent memory.”

“The fiscal stance would be telling in normal times,” he wrote in a column for the Australian financial review on Tuesday.

“During an inflation crisis with the Reserve Bank on the brink of further rate hikes, it is frankly reckless.”

‘In the October 2022 budget, when the government was in its infancy, people in government assured me that, despite the absence of a real fiscal strategy, ‘Jim knows what he has to do.’

Survey

Does your home need the $300 energy rebate?

  • No, give the money to the people who need it most. 9 votes
  • Yes, it will help relieve financial pressure. 6 votes
  • No, but any help is still appreciated. 6 votes

“Well, this quote confirms that you either have no idea or that you don’t care.”

Independent economist Chris Richardson also fears that handing out cash will be counterproductive.

‘My big request to the budget was that it not prick the inflationary bear. “I don’t think I passed that test,” Richardson wrote.

‘The government said it would be careful not to front-load its new costs, but that’s exactly what it did, and its new dollars are big and fast.

“Next year they will be eight times larger than in 2027-28, so this Budget narrows the Reserve Bank’s already narrow path.”

He explained that the government’s big spending decisions in the Budget could be making it harder for the nation to make ends meet in the long run.

‘On budget night a year ago I said we would have another surplus this year, but I can’t say the same tonight.

‘Yes, tax collection will exceed official forecasts, because they still assume a collapse in iron ore and other export prices.

“But that hollow log won’t be enough this time.”

The Albanese government’s seemingly pointless splurge on energy bill relief – including those who don’t need it – has infuriated even the most loyal Labor supporters.

1715702040 803 Australians react with fury to Jim Chalmers Budget as voters

1715702041 167 Australians react with fury to Jim Chalmers Budget as voters

1715702041 639 Australians react with fury to Jim Chalmers Budget as voters

Several angry voters criticized the online payment (pictured) and vowed to boycott the Labor Party in the next federal election.

Several angry voters criticized the online payment (pictured) and vowed to boycott the Labor Party in the next federal election.

‘Sorry mate. I have been a Labor voter all my life. They have lost at least one vote in the upcoming elections. Seriously, where do I start?’ wrote one.

‘I feel like there should be a waiver on the $300 energy rebate for anyone who has ever slept under a quilt with the air conditioning on. We don’t deserve it,” wrote another.

“I’m sure Gina Rinehart is thrilled to get $300 back on her energy bills,” another person said.

‘I earn between $90,000 and $100,000 a year. I live alone and have no dependents. I don’t need $300 off my energy bills. Many other people even more well off than me don’t either. “This money could be better distributed to those who really need help keeping the power on,” wrote another.

Dr Chalmers was later questioned by ABC 7.30 presenter Sarah Ferguson about the inflationary risks of his budget and the controversial $300 energy rebate.

Ferguson asked: ‘There are plenty of people outside of central Australia, like you, who don’t need help paying their bills.

‘Why do you need to give those people energy relief?’

Dr Chalmers responded: ‘I think these cost of living pressures go up and down the income scale.

“We have found a responsible and affordable, but meaningful way to help people with the cost of living, not just people on low and fixed incomes, but also people in central Australia.”

Ferguson also questioned whether Dr Chalmers is willing to be “blamed” if the Reserve Bank increases the inflation rate in response to the Budget.

‘I don’t think this is the only measure of a decent budget. “We are trying to put downward pressure on inflation,” Dr Chalmers said.

Labor welcomed the Budget surplus of around $9.3 billion, but that figure will be slashed to a deficit of $122 billion over four years to 2028.

Dr Chalmers (pictured with his wife, Laura) defended the payment aimed at Australia's highest earners, saying:

Dr Chalmers (pictured with his wife, Laura) defended the payment aimed at Australia’s highest earners, saying: “I think these cost of living pressures go up and down the income scale.”

Shadow treasurer Angus Taylor said the budget was “inflationary” because it contained structural deficits due to unavoidable spending, largely due to the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

He also said the Budget had failed to address cost-of-living pressures, even with $300 per household and tax cuts, caps on drug prices, elimination of $3 billion of student debt indexation and rent relief for people on welfare.

Mr Taylor told Sarah Ferguson: ‘When you plan to spend money, it’s inflationary.

“We have a 16 percent increase in spending in two years and the economy is only going out about seven percent, so spending is growing at twice the pace of the economy, and that leads us to a structural deficit of 43 billion dollars in two years.

“When you have $4 of spending for every dollar of saving, you’re not fighting the dragon of inflation – that local inflation – that so many Australians are suffering from.”

Tasmanian independent senator Lambie also criticized the Budget’s cash spending, particularly the lack of means testing for the $300 energy bill rebate.

She said: ‘I don’t feel comfortable with people like me and the super rich who got a $4,500 tax cut.

‘All you poor people, I’ll tell you what, and we’re getting the $300, not a means test?’ Are we back in the days of COVID? We’re just throwing money away, left, right and center.

‘You’re too lazy to do some means testing. We don’t need $300. I can assure you.’

The Australian Business Council said the Budget takes positive steps to boost competitiveness, while the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the spending plans raised questions about controlling inflation in the long term.

The budget includes $6.2 billion in new housing measures, and $1.9 billion will go towards building 40,000 new social and affordable homes.

The government said it would also work with universities to increase the supply of student housing to meet demand.

One voter directly criticized Mr. Albanese (pictured) for helping him with his energy bill when he had no place to receive power.

One voter directly criticized Mr. Albanese (pictured) for helping him with his energy bill when he had no place to receive power.

Dr Chalmers (pictured) announced the $300 payment as part of the 2024 federal budget on Tuesday night.

Dr Chalmers (pictured) announced the $300 payment as part of the 2024 federal budget on Tuesday night.

University students undertaking internships as part of their degrees in teaching, nursing, midwifery and social work will receive an extra $319.50 per week from July 2025, while $3 billion of student debt has been eliminated thanks to new changes in tertiary education.

The government also wants to boost the country’s manufacturing capabilities through a $22.7 billion Future Made in Australia fund.

The fund will help drive private sector investment in key areas of Australian industry.

HECS debt indexation has changed to be based on the wage price index, rather than inflation levels, or whichever is lower at the time.

More than $800 million will also be spent on mental health support packages, led by a free digital support program for 155,000 people a year.

Australians will be able to access mental health support services without a referral, under the package which will be operational in January 2026.

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