Frances Dwyer, The IMPACT Agency General Manager
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s budget speech aimed to acknowledge hardships but quickly turn Australia’s head sharply to the future. Delivered with a directive optimism and a significant cheque to get Australians working and spending, the budget was as much about selling the horizon of confidence and growth as it was about fiscal stimulus.
With much of the budget shared and leaked in the weeks leading up to 6 October, it was clear that the Federal Government was looking to avoid surprises or shocks landing on the shoulders of an already shell-shocked Australia experiencing a year of unprecedented uncertainty.
Paced with pause and pragmatism, the way the budget was communicated set the tone for the policies it laid out; pragmatic, targeted, temporary and tempered by a timeline for when the Government moves back to focusing on balancing the books.
This was not a budget that sought to hang its hat on one defining or transformational strategy, despite the cries of many industry and community groups to leverage the once–in–a–generation moment to reshape the nation’s trajectory on big issues like climate action. If the budget was a communications campaign, it has plenty of targeted tactics but is lacking in an overarching strategy.
Instead, its key focus was getting Australians back to work; investment in research and tech, skills and training, youth employment and apprenticeship subsidies, housing and manufacturing, with sovereign strength an underlying theme.
The notable absence of significant reform or investment in environmental and female-focused initiatives were met with much disappointment and disapproval (especially in the IMPACT team). However, news that we are going to invest in our nation’s own recycling capabilities is step in the right direction in tackling the war on waste.