Tuesday’s federal budget appeared to give hope to the many Australians who are feeling the impact of the cost of living crisis.

A $300 energy rebate for every household, extra rent assistance and the government’s much-touted tax cuts for all middle and lower income earners mean the government could rightly say it had included something for everyone.

But it didn’t take much digging by commentators and interest groups to find that beneath these and other giveaways there wasn’t a great deal to turn around the lives of those who need the most assistance.

Cassandra Goldie, adjunct professor at the University of New South Wales and CEO of the Australian Council of Social Service, writes today that despite diagnosing the economy’s problems, the government hasn’t provided all the help needed.

“Instead, it tinkers at the edges while ignoring the gaping hole in Australia’s safety net. Genuine repair requires a substantial boost to the incomes of more than one million people trying to survive on JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and related payments of $55 or less a day,” she says.

The government had dismissed the recommendations of its own Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee – made up of economists, social security experts, advocates and business groups – to substantially raise the JobSeeker and Youth Allowance rates. In rejecting the recommendation, it said it could not adopt every “good idea” in the budget.

“Making sure people have enough money to eat three times a day is not a ‘good idea’. It is a basic responsibility of government,” Goldie writes.

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Business Editor

The budget couldn’t include every ‘good idea’ but not boosting JobSeeker and the Youth Allowance were obvious misses

Cassandra Goldie, UNSW Sydney

The government says it is serious about improving living standards but it has failed to provide targeted and long-term relief for the people who need it the most.

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Budget fight looms on Future Made in Australia tax breaks

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

In this podcast were joined by shadow treasurer Angus Taylor and Treasurer Jim Chalmers to discuss the third Albanese government budget.

Funding might change, but Job-ready Graduates stays for now. What does the budget fine print say about higher education?

Gwilym Croucher, The University of Melbourne

A change to university funding is on the cards, but the Job-ready Graduates scheme is staying put for now.

Why is the government proposing caps on international students and how did we get here?

Christopher Ziguras, The University of Melbourne

For the last 40 years or so, successive federal governments have focused on developing the international education sector. The Albanese government is now signalling a new approach.

Israel’s invasion of Rafah will not eliminate Hamas or end the war. So, what is Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan?

Ian Parmeter, Australian National University

The longer the war drags on, the more it has highlighted the fact that Israel has no long-term strategy for living side-by-side with its Palestinian neighbours.

Summer 2023 was northern hemisphere’s hottest for 2,000 years, tree rings show

Mary Gagen, Swansea University

On a regional scale, global warming exceeded the Paris agreement’s upper climate target in the northern hemisphere.

Choice and control: what can the ACCC do to stop NDIS price gouging and reduce costs?

Mona Nikidehaghani, University of Wollongong

An ACCC taskforce may well prove effective in controlling unfair overcharging and NDIS costs. But the scheme’s pricing model could also use a redesign.

Stirring films made the Snowy scheme a nationbuilding project. Could the troubled Snowy 2.0 do the same?

Belinda Smaill, Monash University; Kate Fitch, Monash University

Workers tunnelling through mountains and redirecting rivers, powering and irrigating the nation. We think of the Snowy scheme as a successful nationbuilding project – but it wasn’t always that way

Like being ‘slapped’ or ‘kicked’: judicial bullying is a problem in Australian courtrooms

Ray Nickson, University of Newcastle; Alice Neikirk, University of Newcastle

Long a taboo subject within the profession, judges or magistrates bullying lawyers continues to be a problem in courtrooms, and more needs to be done to stamp it out.

Floating robots reveal just how much airborne dust fertilises the Southern Ocean – a key climate ‘shock absorber’

Jakob Weis, University of Tasmania; Andrew Bowie, University of Tasmania; Christina Schallenberg, CSIRO; Peter Strutton, University of Tasmania; Zanna Chase, University of Tasmania

Iron-rich dust feeds phytoplankton. They are a key form of life in the Southern Ocean, which acts as a climate shock absorber.

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