RMIT experts available to comment on topics relating to the Federal Budget

RMIT experts available to comment on topics relating to the Federal Budget

Experts from RMIT University are available to comment on a range of topics relating to this year’s Federal Budget, including cyber security, gender equality, transport, infrastructure, housing affordability, cost of living and mental health.

Gender equality

Dr Leonora Risse (0401 360 733 or

Topics: gender equality, female workforce participation, childcare, labour economics

"The budget’s changes to Paid Parental Leave flexibility is a step backwards for gender equality. International research clearly shows that removing the leave allowance earmarked for fathers results in mothers taking more leave, with little response from fathers. This policy change will have the effect of further entrenching traditional gender roles in Australian households.

"Extending the amount of use-it-or-lose-it paid parental leave for fathers would have been more effective in supporting more men to be a part of their children’s upbringing and more women to extend their workforce participation. This policy design is clearly not being guided by the research and evidence.

"Childcare subsidies, previously announced by the Government, must be accompanied by expansions in workforce capacity, otherwise this risks pushing childcare fees upwards and eroding the quality of care provided by lumping more demand on a sector that is already at capacity and struggling to retain workers. But there is little in the budget to support the retention and expansion of the childcare and aged care workforces through better wages and work conditions.

"The budget splashes a lot of cash across the economy to attempt to relieve costs of living but this higher stimulus adds fuel to inflationary pressures. Instead of short-time cost relief, the economy needs long-term investment that expands the country’s productive capacity, through greater investment in research, the health and care workforces, housing supply, digital connectivity, and dismantling the real barriers to women’s economic inclusion."

Dr Leonora Risse is a Lecturer in Economics at RMIT University, and a Research Fellow with the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard University. She serves as the National Chair of the Women in Economics Network.

Cyber Security

Professor Matt Warren (0432 745 171 or

Topics: cyber security, information security, cyber warfare; critical infrastructure protection

"In 2020, as part of the Australian Government Cyber Security Strategy the government invested $1.7 billion to protect Australia against cyber threats.

“In the 2022 budget the government will invest a further $9.9 billion to deliver a Resilience, Effects, Defence, Space, Intelligence, Cyber and Enablers (REDSPICE) package. The aim of the investment is to significantly enhance the offensive and defensive cyber and intelligence capabilities of the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD).

“The investment will double ASD’s size, creating 1900 new jobs over the next decade, bolstering the government’s commitment to Australia’s Five Eyes and AUKUS partners while supporting a secure Indo Pacific region.

“This is a great investment by the Australian government in developing Australia’s cyber and intelligence capability into the future and the first time that space, cyber and intelligence has been linked together.

“A key issue is that only Australian citizens can work for the Commonwealth and with the current cyber security skills shortage, it may be difficult to fill the 1900 new security roles.

“The other key announcement is in relation to small businesses, which can receive a $120 tax deduction for every $100 they spend on training their staff, or on technology (including Cyber Security), up to $100,000. This is a great incentive for small businesses to improve their cyber security infrastructure and their cyber security capabilities.”

Matthew (Matt) Warren is the Director of the RMIT University Centre for Cyber Security Research and Innovation and a Professor of Cyber Security at RMIT University. He is a researcher in the areas of Cyber Security and Computer Ethics.

Housing affordability

Emeritus Professor Michael Buxton - 0417 153 872 or

“The government is making the same old mistakes again by providing further support for first home buyers and targeted housing assistance that will inevitably just add to the price of housing. This is pure electioneering at the expense of new home buyers and more affordable housing.

“Every time the government announces assistance packages for home buyers,it just goes on to the price of housing because developers simply raise the price of the house and land packages they are selling.

“These grants also drive up the cost of materials and labour because you have even more people competing for the same number of tradespeople and materials.

“Supply for housing materials is already tight and in some parts of the country, people are waiting up to two years to renovate their homes. You can only imagine what it must be like in areas that have been affected by floods.

“All these home buyer grants do is stimulate demand, which increases pressure on the supply of houses and prices of housing products. Governments know this. But they get a free kick just before the election so they keep on making the same mistake and adding significantly to the price of housing in the longer term.”

Emeritus Professor Michael Buxton is a professor of Environment and Planning at the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University.

Transport and infrastructure

Professor Jago Dodson 0415 554 889 or

Topics/research interests: infrastructure, transport, housing and metropolitan planning

“The most significant announcements in relation to transport and infrastructure in Victoria centre around the two multi-modal freight terminals in Beveridge in Melbourne’s north and in Truganina in the west, which signals confidence in the inland rail project and will go some way to reducing the number of trucks on Melbourne’s road, reducing congestion and contributing to carbon savings.

"There is also some funding for some notable but not hugely significant road upgrades, including Mickleham Road in Melbourne’s north. But overall, the budget has been another missed opportunity to support Victorians and Melburnians who are interested in cycling and walking as a means of travel.

"Since COVID-19 we have seen quite significant behaviour changes when it comes to the number of people who want to walk and cycle for short trips, but we haven’t seen anything in the budget that supports this shift or the need for better public transport options that will also help take cars off suburban roads and ease congestion.

"The fuel excise reduction is a further disappointing measure. It is better to provide general income relief or tax credit than to diminish a mechanism that assists to moderate travel behaviour away from cars. And the revenue foregone is money that can't be spent to maintain roads or expand public transport, walking and cycling in our cities."

Professor Jago Dodson is a professor of Urban Policy and Director, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University.

Mental Health

Associate Professor Cameron Duff - 0402 668 068 or

Topics: social innovation, homelessness, mental health

“While new investment in mental health prevention initiatives is always welcome, this budget does little to address the ongoing crisis in access to acute mental health services, particularly for young people.

“With the global pandemic having led to unprecedented demand for acute mental health support across the country, it is disappointing that there has been no attempt to address this demand through targeted new funding for community mental health support.

“The increase in the NHFIC’s (National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation) lending capacity is very welcome as this will support significant new development in affordable housing across the country.

“More needs to be done though to address chronic problems of housing affordability across the country. Greater targeting of Commonwealth rental assistance programs would be most welcome, as would strong support for direct investment in more social housing stock to match commitments at the state level. The country needs a new national affordable housing strategy and this requires stronger national leadership from the Commonwealth.”

Cameron Duff is an Associate Professor in the Centre for People, Organisation and Work in the College of Business and Law at RMIT University.

Cost of Living and Youth

Dr Kathy Edwards,

Topics: youth sociology, youth work, gender

“A one-off cost of living package is a poorly applied bandaid. This will not address rising costs of essentials such as food, energy and fuel, let alone touch the sides of existing disadvantages. It is hard to see this as anything other than a cash-splash designed to woo voters but without addressing systemic disadvantage.

“While the proposed boost to apprenticeships is an excellent initiative, the ReBoot program — described as a work program for 'disadvantaged and disengaged' youth — is less so. At this stage, the unfortunately named program looks like a boot camp version of work for the dole and it uses the same stigmatising and stereotyping language.

“Whilst Morrison and his ministers are keen to stigmatise young voters they seem less keen to address them when they are engaged and raise real concerns about their futures and the future of the planet.

“Young voters still face the prospect of paying off COVID incurred debts and the rising cost of disaster recovery as well as supporting an ageing population. This budget does not give us hope for a budget for young people today or in the future.”

Dr Kathy Edwards is a Senior Lecturer and Program Manager for Bachelor of Youth Work and Youth Studies, within the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT.

For media enquiries, please contact RMIT Communications: 0439 704 077 or


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RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.