Rent Assistance, Energy Rebates, HECS Refunds: How To Access Payments From The 2024 Federal Budget

The 2024 federal budget made plenty of promises, including a number of payments designed to soften the cost of living burden. In particular, Treasurer Jim Chalmers announced a $300 energy rebate to every Aussie household, a $1.9 billion rent increase package, and a wipe out of $3 billion worth of HECS debt.

How do I get these dollars into my bank account, you ask? We got you covered.

Of the butt load of new payments and commitments the government made on May 14, there were three that caught the attention of everyday young Aussies trying to save a couple of bucks:

  1. The $300 energy bill rebate for every household.
  2. A 10% increase to rent assistance payments.
  3. Over $3 billion of HECS debts were wiped.

Here’s how to access each of these payments announced in the federal budget.

How to access the energy bill relief

In response to rising prices of electricity, the 2024 federal budget delivered $3.5 billion in energy relief, which would see every Australian household receive a $300 rebate in their energy bills, starting July 1 this year.

Because it is being given to every single household — note the word “household”, not person — it means there is nothing you need to do to get it. 

The $300 rebate will be automatically included in your energy bill over the year.

So rather than a letter in the mail containing $300 in a lump sum and sharing it with your housemates, you will instead notice that your energy bill is slightly cheaper each quarter — by about $75 each time. 

When Chalmers announced that the government would be providing every household in Australia with an energy relief package, the decision was met with some scrutiny

“You’ve got to be shitting me, this is the best you can come up with?” Senator Jacqui Lambie colourfully questioned.

Every household saving $300 is great for some of the low-income households that really need it — but not as necessary for anyone in the highest tax brackets.

Here’s hoping that my landlord doesn’t just use it as an opportunity to raise my rent by $300 a year!

How to access HECS refunds

Before budget night the government had announced that it would be wiping over $3 billion in HECS debts for three million Australians. It did this by changing how HECS is indexed each year, which has previously been tied to the inflation of the consumer price index (CPI). Moving forward, your HECS debt will be indexed in parallel to either CPI or the wage price index (WPI), whichever is lower.

It’s been estimated to save the average person with a HECS debt of about $1,200 — but how do you access this refund???

Thankfully this too will be automatically calculated by the number crunchers at the Australian Tax Office (ATO)! The difference in amount will be calculated and taken off your outstanding HECS debt. 

And if you finished paying off your HECS in the last 12 months, then the amount will be subtracted automatically by the ATO from whatever you owe in tax at the end of this financial year.

So don’t worry about dealing with any numbers! Rest easy and know you already did all the work studying at uni or TAFE.

How to access the rent assistance increase

Recognising how absolutely bonkers broken the housing/rental crisis in Australia is right now, Chalmers announced support for renters in the tune of a $1.9 billion assistance package.

Describing the increase as “much-needed help for young people and renters of all ages doing it tough,” the Treasurer promised to increase Rent Assistance by 10%.

Level Of Rent AssistanceOld Maximum AmountNew Maximum Amount
Individual w/ three or more dependents$249.90$274.90
Couple w/ two or less dependents$221.20$243.30
Individual w/ no independents$188.20$207.02
Data: Services Australia.

If you are one of the 1.3 million Aussies on Commonwealth Rent Assistance, this will mean that the amount of money you are supplied with will automatically increase as of July 1, 2024.

Again, I sure hope my landlord doesn’t also raise my rent by 10%!

Of course, these three areas weren’t the only things addressed by the government in the 2024 Federal Budget. So if you want to have a look at our top seven takeaways for how it will affect young people (AKA you) then peep our budget cheat sheet here!