What the 2023 Federal Budget means for older Australians

May 10, 2023
Where do older Australians stand to benefit from this year's Budget. Source: Getty Images.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers delivered Labor’s second budget on Tuesday, May 9, and while much of the focus has been on cost of living relief measures and the government’s first surplus in 15 years, there were several measures that aim to improve the quality of life and address their unique needs of older Australians.

From a $14.6 billion package to help alleviate the pressures associated with the rising cost of living to funding for aged care workers, a reduction in the cost of prescription medicines, and measures to strengthen Medicare there are several areas in the Budget where older Australians stand to benefit.

While delivering his Budget speech, Chalmers this year’s Budget was about “seeing our people through the hard times – and setting our country up for a better future.”

“In all our decisions, we seek to strike a considered, methodical balance,” he said.

“Between spending restraint to keep the pressure off inflation, while doing what we can to help people struggling to make ends meet.

“Making sure vital services like Medicare and the National Disability Insurance Scheme are secure, reliable and sustainable.

“And dealing with immediate, near‑term challenges – while investing in our long‑term national success.”

In an effort to understand which areas of the Budget will help older Australians “make ends meet”,  Starts at 60 has compiled a comprehensive guide to the 2023 Budget measures that will have the greatest impact for seniors.

Cost of Living

Cost of living was high on the agenda for this year’s Budget as the nation continues to struggle with the rising costs of day-to-day expenses.

In an effort to alleviate the strain, the government committed to delivering up to $3 billion in direct energy bill relief for eligible households and small businesses as part of its $14.6 billion cost‑of‑living plan.

More than 5 million households will have up to $500 deducted from their power bills in the next financial year.

“Real relief, right off your power bill, right when you need it,” Chalmers said while announcing the measure.

The move is expected to benefit pensioners, small businesses, and individuals receiving government payments.

Aged Care

The Budget will also see Labor commit $11.3 billion towards funding a substantial 15 per cent pay increase for aged care workers, matching the recent Fair Work Commission’s directive for the sector.

The significant investment is expected to draw more staff to the sector and will be a vital step forward towards the government’s commitment to improving the quality of aged care in Australia.

As per The Guardian, Minister for Aged Care Anika Wells said the move will “ensure that quality aged care workers are less likely to contemplate leaving the sector because of pay concerns.”

“Fair wages play a major role in attracting and retaining workers to provide around-the-clock care for some of Australia’s most vulnerable people,” Wells said.

In addition, the government has allocated a sum of $166.8 million to facilitate 9,500 more Home Care Packages, which will benefit older Australians who wish to continue living in the comfort of their homes.

Prescription medicines

The Budget has also allocated $2.2 billion to increase access to life changing medicines through the PBS.

From September this year, patients will be able to get more of the medicine they need at a reduced cost.

“Instead of having to go back to their pharmacist every month, many people with common, chronic illnesses will be able to get 2 months’ worth of treatment for over 300 different medicines,” Chalmers said.

“This change will save people up to $180 a year.

“For millions of Australians, the cost of medicines will be cut in half.”

Medicines for conditions such as heart disease, cholesterol, Crohn’s disease, and hypertension will be included in the new measure, which is expected to deliver budget savings by reducing patients’ visits to the GP to obtain the medicines they need.

The move has been widely welcomed by healthcare professionals and patient groups, who have long advocated for greater access to affordable prescription medications.

Australian Health Minister Mark Butler previously highlighted the importance of the new policy, stating that it will address the issue of Australians delaying or going without necessary medication due to the cost.

Strengthening Medicare

In response to the difficulty that many Australians face in accessing “affordable” and “reliable healthcare”, Medicare will receive “$3.5 billion boost” to ensure greater access to GPs for pensioners and concession card holders.

The funding increase will help GPs provide free consultations to an estimated 11.6 million eligible Australians

“All of this will help take pressure off our public hospitals and emergency departments, still feeling the strain of a once‑in‑a‑century pandemic,” Chalmers said.

“And it will ensure that for millions of people, the quality of your healthcare is guaranteed not by your credit card – but by your Medicare card.”


As part of its Budget measures, the government acknowledged the challenges faced by older Australians seeking employment and has taken steps to assist them. The Budget will raise the JobSeeker rate by $40 per fortnight, while individuals aged 55 to 59 who have been out of work for over nine months will receive an additional $92.10 per fortnight, bringing their payments in line with those received by people aged 60 and above.

The measures are designed to offer support to older job seekers and address the financial difficulties associated with extended periods of unemployment.

“Until now, people aged 60 and over and on payments for a long time have received a higher rate, in recognition of the additional barriers they face finding work,” Chalmers said.

“But the truth is, it gets more difficult earlier than that.

“The majority of people aged 55 and over on JobSeeker are women, many with little to no savings or superannuation, and who are at risk of homelessness.

“So tonight, we’re extending the extra support for those aged 60 and over to include Australians aged 55 and over.”

Stories that matter
Emails delivered daily
Sign up