15 May 2024

The Hon Stephen Jones MP

Assistant Treasurer

Minister for Financial Services

Member for Whitlam


Alison Byrnes MP

Member for Cunningham




Illawarra and Southern Highlands residents will receive further cost of living relief, as part of the Albanese Labor Government’s 2024-25 Budget.

Labor’s third budget handed down last night, focuses on easing cost of living pressures while investing in a Future Made in Australia.

It’s part of the government’s plan to repair the budgets bottom line and rebuild local manufacturing for a stronger and more resilient economy.

Cost of living relief outlined in the Budget includes:

  • Tax cuts for 145,000 taxpayers in the Illawarra and Southern Highlands from 1 July.
  • $300 energy rebates for households and $325 for eligible small businesses.
  • Wiping around $3 billion from student HECS debt, benefiting nearly 37,000 current and former local students.
  • Increasing Commonwealth Rent Assistance by 10 per cent for over 12,700 residents.
  • Cheaper medicines, with more than $4.06 million saved locally since November.
  • Providing a better deal for every working parent by paying superannuation in addition to Paid Parental Leave.

The Budget also invests in key infrastructure that connects our communities, creates jobs and helps build our nation’s future, including:

  • $5 million in Commonwealth funding for Mount Ousley Safety and Reliability (MOSAR) Planning
  • An additional $72 million in Commonwealth funding for Mount Ousley Interchange
  • $50,212,047 in local roads funding through a total 5-year investment as part of the Roads to Recovery program for Wollongong, Shellharbour and Wingecarribee Shire Council’s.

Importantly, the further cost of living relief measures our government has delivered in the Budget builds on our work to take pressure off Australians without adding to pressure on inflation.

This is a Budget that provides investments to train more workers, get wages moving again, support the aged care sector, build more homes, strengthen Medicare and boost bulk-billing, make child care cheaper and provide more Australians the chance to upskill at university or TAFE.

We’re backing in local workers by committing $30 million for a wage increase for the early childhood education sector, and a further increase to award wages for our aged care workers, building on last year’s $11.3 billion investment.

Our Budget is investing in a Future Made in Australia, with the transformative opportunities of clean energy, new technology, and investing in strategic industries.

This is a Budget that positions the region on the front foot to become a renewable energy superpower.

The Albanese Government will invest $500 million to establish Battery Breakthrough – a program that will build a battery manufacturing industry in Australia so that we can be a renewable energy superpower.

The Minister for Science and Industry will also soon launch the National Battery Strategy, so that we can produce more from what we mine locally, and expects this will create 61,400 new, highly- skilled, high-paying jobs in the regions, such as the Illawarra by 2030.

Quotes attributable to Assistant Treasurer, Minister for Financial Services and Member for Whitlam, Stephen Jones MP:

“I know locals are doing it tough at the moment, that’s why we’re delivering targeted support to Illawarra and Southern Highlands residents.

“Whether it’s tax cuts, energy rebates, cheaper medicines or cutting student debt, our top priority is providing cost of living relief to take pressure off household budgets.

“The Albanese Government’s Budget strikes the right balance of responsible spending without adding to inflation.

Quotes attributable to Member for Cunningham, Alison Byrnes MP:

“Since coming to government there has been so much to fix and every budget and every piece of legislation that Labor has put forward over the past two years has made significant inroads and this Budget is another example of that.

“We have targeted support for people who are under the pump – with a $300 energy rebate for every household and $325 for small business, a tax cut for every taxpayer as well the first back-to-back increase to Rent Assistance in 30 years.

“Our government is backing in a wage increase for workers in the early childhood education sector and a further increase to award wages for aged care workers.  We also have additional funding to improve the NDIS, we are freezing the cost of PBS medicines, establishing more Medicare Urgent Care Clinics and investing an additional $6.2 billion in housing bringing our total investment to more than $32 billion.

“We are also investing in economic opportunities for our future with the $22.7 billion plan for a Future Made in Australia which includes an innovation fund for innovative technologies such as green metals, batteries and low carbon liquid fuels.  Stephen and I will be working hard to ensure that the Illawarra makes the most of every opportunity for jobs and investment under the current and new initiatives.

“Labor is also investing in critical infrastructure including $77 million in Australian Government funding for the Mount Ousley interchange project, which is a vital passenger and freight gateway in and out of the Illawarra."