2024-25 Federal Budget Announcement - And How It Impacts You



Treasurer Jim Chalmers delivered the federal government’s third budget on 14 May 2024. For the second consecutive year, securing a surplus, this year's budget offers an array of initiatives tailored for SMEs.

These include an extension of the instant asset write-off, increased funding for the Small Business Debt Helpline, and additional support for NewAccess mental health services.

In a promising development, in conjunction with Master Plumbers Australia and New Zealand, MPAQ’s advocacy for extending apprentice incentives has resulted in short-term success. There were changes made to the Australian Apprenticeships Incentive System for 2024-25 as a stop gap until the recommendations from the Strategic Review of the Australian Apprenticeships Incentive System can be made:

  • Employer incentives will be brought forward to the first year with payments of $2,000 at six months and $3,000 at 12 months. While this is a significant decrease to the current arrangements, it is $1,000 above what was scheduled to come into place from 1 July 2024. This is not tied to wages as the current incentive is, so this may mean that many claiming employers may receive more with the changes. There will be no continuation of the hiring incentive.
  • Apprenticeship incentives will also be brought forward, with a $3,500 incentive in the first year and $1,500 in the second year. This is an increase of $2,000 on what was scheduled to be in place from 1 July.
  • These measures will only apply to priority occupations.

Other key matters impacting the plumbing and gas industry include:


  • $91 million in funding over five years for the Skilling the Clean Energy Workforce package, which includes:
    • $50 million for a capital and equipment investment fund for facility upgrades to expand clean energy training capacity across wind, solar, pumped hydro, grid battery storage, electricity networks, and hydrogen, as well as key electrical and construction trades.
    • $30 million to boost the clean energy teacher trainer and assessor workforce.
    • $10 million in 2025-26 to promote hydrogen workforce development.
    • $3.3 million for promotional work to complement the package which will be disseminated through employers, unions, society, and government agencies.
    • $1.8 million for reimbursements for Group Training Organisations of up to $1,500 per year (over the lifetime of an apprenticeship) per apprentice, where they reduce fees for small to medium enterprises who engage an apprentice training in the clean energy, manufacturing, and construction industries.
    • $1.4 million for a scoping study into international clean energy apprenticeships.
  • $90.6 million to boost the number of skilled workers in the construction and housing sector which was previously announced and includes:
    • $62.4 million for 15,000 Fee-Free TAFE and VET places;
    • $26.4 million for approximately 5,000 pre-apprenticeship programs; and
    • $1.8 million for Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) to streamline skills assessments for 1,900 potential migrants from countries with comparable qualifications and prioritise the processing of assessments already on the books.
  • $55.6 million over four years for the Building Women’s Careers program. This program will support women into flexible, safe and inclusive work and training opportunities and will drive structural and cultural change across the male-dominated industries.
  • An extra $41 million to complement the $325 million over 5 years announced in the previous Budget for the National Skills Agreement, including $31 million for the TAFE Centres of Excellence and $10 million to develop higher and degree apprenticeships.
  • $27.7 million over four years to improve tertiary collaboration and lay the foundation for broader tertiary education reforms under the Universities Accord.
  • $10.6 million over four years from 2024–25 (and $1.0 million per year ongoing) for the implementation of a reporting solution for the Australian Skills Guarantee.
  • $9.5 million for Jobs and Skills Australia in the next financial year until the legislative review is commissioned and reports.
  • $6.1 million in 2024–25 in additional funding for the National Careers Institute to continue its role in supporting Australians to access targeted careers information.
  • $4.4 million in 2024–25 to deliver strategic communications to increase the appeal of VET for students, parents and teachers, and extending community awareness of Fee-Free TAFE courses in areas of high skills needs.

Small businesses

  • The instant asset write-off will be extended for a further 12 months until 30 June 2025. The eligible amount will be $20,000 for businesses with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $10 million – this is an extension at the same level as the 2023-24 Budget measure which is still before the Parliament.
  • $3.5 billion from 1 July 2024 for energy bill relief for households and small businesses through the Energy Bill Relief Fund. Rebates of $325 will be provided to around 1 million small businesses under the Fund.
  • $3.1 million over two years from 2024-25 to extend support available through the Small Business Debt Helpline.
  • $7.7 million over two years from 2024-25 to continue providing mental health support through the ‘NewAccess for Small Business Owners’ program.
  • $25.3 million over four years from 2024-25 to ensure the Payment Times Reporting Regulator can deliver its expanded functions responding to the statutory review, an increase to the previously committed $8.1 million.
  • $10.0 million over two years from 2024–25 to provide additional support for small business employers in administering PPL, implementing a commitment made during negotiations on the Paid Parental Leave Amendment (More Support for Working Families) Bill 2023.
  • $2.6 million over four years from 2024–25 for the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman to support unrepresented small businesses to navigate business-to-business disputes through alternative dispute resolution.
  • Treasury will be allocated $2.9 million in 2024–25 to review the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman in line with legislation, as well as the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct, and the Tax and Corporate Whistleblower Protection Framework.


  • The Government will set the 2024–25 permanent Migration Program planning level at 185,000 places and allocate 132,200 places (around 70 per cent) to the Skill stream. From 2025–26, the Government will extend the planning horizon for the permanent Migration Program from one year to four years.
  • $18.3 million over four years from 2024–25 to further reform Australia’s migration system to drive greater economic prosperity and restore its integrity, including:
    • $15.0 million over three years from 2024–25 for information and education activities to provide migrant workers with accurate and appropriate information about workplace safeguards, protections, and compliance measures related to migration laws; and
    • $1.4 million for 2024-25 to close the Business Innovation and Investment visa program (BIIP) and implement a new visa. Refunds of the visa application charge will be provided from September 2024 for those who wish to withdraw their BIIP application.
  • The work experience requirement for the Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visa will be decreased from two years to one year for all applicants from 23 November 2024 onwards. It is not known what contribution this will make to the Budget.

Work Health and Safety

Compared to last year, no significant funding measures have been announced relating to work, health and safety or workers’ compensation. Two minor projects funded include:

  • $1.5 million over four years from 2024–25 (and $0.4 million per year ongoing) to establish a Family and Injured Workers Advisory Committee.
  • $1.5 million over two years from 2024–25 to expand the scope of the review of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 by engaging an independent expert panel.

Workplace relations

Funding measures commencing from 2024-25 include:

  • $27.5 million over four years (and $7.0 million per year ongoing) to enable the Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman to continue targeting non-compliance with the Fair Work Act 2009 by large corporate employers.
  • $20.5 million over four years (and $5.1 million per year ongoing) to boost funding for the Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman’s Employer Advisory Service to support small business employers to comply with recent changes to workplace laws.

Protection from scams and fraud

Combatting scams and fraud is a key focus of this year’s budget, with significant funding going to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to bolster its defences. This includes $187 million in new funding to tackle tax and superannuation fraud, including tools to block suspicious activity in real time and a taskforce to recover lost revenue and step in when scammers try to claim fake refunds. 

The ATO will also receive $23.3 million to continue operating the nation’s e-invoicing network, which acts as an important circuit breaker for email-based scams.

BAS refunds notifications

The ability of the ATO to manage “peak fraud events” like the massive GST-fraud scam that led to Operation Protego has also been strengthened in this year’s budget. This will be done by changing the mandatory notification period for when the ATO intends to retain a business activity statement (BAS) refund for further investigation, from 14 days to 30 days.


MPAQ will keep members updated with the items listed above.

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