What’s in it for you? A state-by-state guide to budget bonuses for older Australians

With the announcement of NSW’s 2024-25 Budget, all the states except for Tasmania have outlined their spending priorities for the next financial year.

We have done a deep dive and scoured out the best wins for older Australians on a state-by-state basis.

Taking in the big picture, all states and territories will be increasing spending on health, which is great for supporting older Australians but may take a while to trickle through. 

There’s also a lot of talk about affordable housing, but very little detail, and it could be years before any realistic housing relief is felt in the market, if at all.

However, most states have a few tweaks that will benefit older Australians – from bill rebates to cheaper public transport.

Here’s our round-up.


The good news in Victoria is there are no new taxes or levies in the 2024-25 Budget.

The bad news is the state has staggering debt and many major infrastructure projects have been scrapped to rein in costs.

The government announced that one of those projects would include a delay of at least four years to the Melbourne Airport rail project.

They first started talking about this when I left high school in 1985, four more years is just a blip on the screen.

Health is a big winner, with $1.7 billion in hospital and health facility upgrades. Health spending represents 31 per cent of the state’s budget. 

However, this may come at a cost for regional health as, according to the ABC, more than 20 regional centres have been told their budgets may be slashed by up to 30 per cent in the upcoming financial year. 

Mental health will also take a back seat. The government planned to open 50 mental health and wellbeing clinics, but so far only 15 have been opened. The remaining 35 are being ‘delayed’.

Ratepayers will also take a slug, with increases across the board to pay for the state’s fire-fighting services. 

The increases are

·  residential: $35 rise

·  commercial: $73 rise

·  industrial: $35 rise

·  primary production: $150 rise

·  public benefit: $13 rise

·  vacant: $143.

With energy costs an increasing worry for all Australians, Victoria has initiated funding of $18 million for offshore wind generation, and $17 million to plan and design a renewable energy terminal at the Port of Hastings. 

It has also allocated $38 million to help Victorians install energy-efficient heat pumps. 


NSW is planning to spend $5.1 billion on social housing to build and refurbish projects with a particular emphasis on women and children fleeing domestic violence and essential workers. 

This represents 8400 new homes across several housing models. However, the government does plan to sell some public land to developers for the projects.

That money includes funding to repair and refurbish existing homes. 

Christopher Minns’ state government has also promised to fund support for bulk-billing. 

GP practices that bulk-bill 80 per cent of their patients in metropolitan Sydney – 70 per cent in the rest of the state – can claim a complete tax rebate for the payroll tax they otherwise would have to pay for the wages of contractor GPs.

GP clinics would also be exempt from paying back taxes they might owe on contractor wages.

The state will also spend $3.4 billion on upgrading hospitals and health facilities, including $1 billion on rural and regional projects. 

In other good news for older Australians, the NSW government plans to spend $22 billion to improve public transport.  


With the Labor government facing defeat in an upcoming election, Premier Steven Miles and Treasurer Cameron Dick delivered a vote-winning budget, heavy on cost-of-living relief. 

There will be a $1000 credit from the Queensland government for all electricity bills for the financial year. There will also be 20 per cent off vehicle registrations, a flat fare of 50 cents across the state’s Translink public transport network for six months from 5 August and Brisbane Airtrain half price. 

Labor also vowed to increase health funding by 10.6 per cent, with an emphasis on hiring more doctors and nurses. This contrasts with a historical annual average increase of 6.9 per cent. 

Housing also received a boost, with $3.1 billion promised to improve housing and a target of one million extra homes by 2046. Sounds like pie in the sky, and probably is. The announcement was light on hard facts and heavy on funds for helping ‘planning’, ‘incentives’ and ‘updating planning schemes’. 

For all those million extra homes, only about 53,500 were for social housing. 

There will also be a $160 million Renters Relief Package to support renting households. The scheme can help eligible clients with bond loans, rental grants, small household items, moving costs and rental security subsidies. 

Northern Territory

The NT Budget put carers and pensioners at the forefront.

The government will spend $31.2 million on a range of concession and recognition schemes for prepaid cards and concessions on a range of essential goods and services to help reduce the cost of living. 

The $8.4 million Seniors Recognition Scheme provides an annual prepaid card for Territory residents aged over 65.

The card can be used on a variety of items and is valid at almost any business. In 2024-25, the NT government is increasing the annual value of the prepaid cards from $500 to $550, to assist senior Territorians with cost-of-living pressures.

The Northern Territory Concession Scheme provides concessions on a range of essential goods and services to help with living expenses, including:

  • $1200 per annum for electricity
  • $800 per annum for water
  • $502 every two years for Territorians and their registered dependants for spectacles
  • $486 per annum for sewerage
  • $200 per annum for council rates
  • $154 per annum for vehicle registration
  • $150 per annum for garbage
  • free driver’s licence renewal.

South Australia

A welcome budget measure for older SA residents will be $10.6 million over four years to extend public transport concessions to all Health Care Card holders, which is estimated to benefit 15,000 people. This should save up to $2.25 per trip. 

Any state government fees and charges increases have also been set at 3 per cent, for the third year in a row, which is about 30 per cent below inflation figures. 

There’s more money for housing, but once again it’s a bit of a mixed bag for people struggling to gain secure housing. The government is promising 626 dwellings on government-owned land at Noarlunga Downs, but only 170 will be social or affordable homes. 

And while $30 million has been earmarked to boost regional housing, the wording doesn’t promise actual houses, just assistance “in unlocking prioritised regional housing projects”. Which are fancy words for spending a lot on administration and very little on housing. 

An additional $2.5 billion will be spent on health, including more money for ambulance stations, public hospitals and mental health. 

Western Australia

Cost-of-living relief in WA is also high on the agenda.

There will be a $400 rebate for all households and many small businesses, and additional energy bill relief of $734 of support for pensioners.

In another boost for pensioners, the Regional Pensioner Travel Card program (formerly the Country Age Pension Fuel Card) will be given an extra $20 million.

The card’s value will increase from $100 a year to $675 a year for eligible pensioners beginning 1 July. 

In other transport bonuses, the budget also supports free off-peak public transport for seniors and pensioners and free public transport on Sundays.  

WA has an ambitious target for social housing, with $1.1 billion earmarked for almost an additional 5000 dwellings, homeless services, affordable housing, and other cost relief measures. 

The state will also spend $1.3 billion to boost health services, including measures to reduce ambulance ramping, and employ more doctors and nurses. 


The 2024-25 Tasmanian State Budget will be delivered on 12 September.


As it really just manages a decently large town, the ACT government is limited in what it can do, but there are a few bonuses for older Australians. 

Over 40,000 low-income households in Canberra will benefit from an increase in the Electricity, Gas and Water Rebate. The payment will be raised to $800 per year, helping these households with their home energy costs. 

Vouchers from the Utilities Hardship Fund will also be increased from $100 to $300. 

Public transport concession fares will also be extended to Canberrans with a Commonwealth Low-Income Health Care Card. 

The government will also increase the subsidy for the Taxi Subsidy Scheme, which supports people who cannot use public transport due to inaccessibility.

What would be on your Budget wish list? Why not share it in the comments section below?

Also read: July cash boost – how much will you get?

Jan Fisher
Jan Fisherhttp://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/author/JanFisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.


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