How does the federal budget affect you?
THE Budget has delivered better funding for school kids but little relief for families.
People with disabilities and entrepreneurs are getting more funding, smokers are getting taxed more, and pensioners stand to benefit from selling their houses.
Find out what the Budget means for you.
If you’re thinking of having a baby…
… it’s time to get busy. If you don’t get pregnant in the next two weeks you won’t get the Baby Bonus. It’s being scrapped from March 1, 2014, or in nine months and two weeks, and will be replaced with an increase to the rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A. For families not claiming Paid Parental Leave, FTB-A will be increased by $2000 following the birth or adoption of a first child and by $1000 following the birth or adoption of a second or subsequent child.
If you have school children…
… school reforms mean they will get more funding. From January 1, 2014 schools will be funded per student, with primary schools getting $9271 per child and high schools getting $12,193 per child. Students with disability, from a low socioeconomic status, non-English speaking or Indigenous background, or attending a regional, remote or small school will benefit from extra funding on top of the base amount.
If you’re a pensioner…
… you should sell your family home next year. From July 1, 2014, pensioners who have owned their family home for at least 25 years and who decide to downsize will have the option to invest surplus funds (up to $200,000) in an account. The funds invested in the account and earned interest will be exempt from the Age Pension means test for up to 10 years.
If you are a single parent…
… you will no longer lose eligibility for a Pensioner Concession Card (PCC) if you earn too much money from employment. For a period of 12 weeks you will be eligible for a PCC even if you don’t qualify for Parenting Payment Single because your youngest child has turned eight or you do not qualify for a benefit due to earnings from employment.
From January 1, 2014 single parents studying while on the Newstart Allowance will receive up to $62.40 a fortnight under the Pensioner Education Supplement (PES) to help with the costs of study while they gain an initial qualification to assist them to re-enter the workforce.
If you need child care…
… the maximum amount of the Child Care Rebate that can be paid to you will remain at $7500 a year until June 30, 2017. No new measures will make child care cheaper for you personally, but investments are being made to improve childcare quality. The Government will provide up to $300 million over two years to help day care centres to attract and retain qualified professionals through wage increases. The Government will also provide $12.9 million over three years to trial flexible child care arrangements for families who require care outside standard operating hours.
If you receive the Newstart Allowance…
… from July 1 2015 you will be able to earn $100 a fortnight before your payments are affected, up from the current level of $62. This means recipients will be able to keep up to an extra $494 of their income from part-time work over a year.
If you have a disability…
… you will benefit from $19.3 billion in funding over seven years from 2012-13.
If you have cancer…
… an extra $29.6 million will be provided to support the dispensing of chemotherapy medicines in 2012-13 and 2013 14. Overall the Budget provides $226 million to improve cancer prevention, detection, and research, and provide better patient care and support. Measures include a new Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre, funding for bone marrow transplants and for the Youth Cancer Network program run by CanTeen, and money to improve the treatment for people affected by lung cancer. The Government will also expand the age range for the BreastScreen Australia and bowel cancer screening.
If you’re a doctor…
… you might want to think about moving to the country. The government is making a $33.8 million further investment into the General Practice Rural Incentive program in 2013-14 to encourage medical practitioners to move to regional and remote communities.
If you’re a university student…
… thinking about doing a post-grad degree you’re in luck. The government is spending $97 million from 2014 to 2017 for additional Commonwealth-supported sub-bachelor and postgraduate places.
But there’s no use banking on a Student Start-up Scholarship next year as the program has been scrapped. Instead the Government is offering loans to students if you receive Youth Allowance, Austudy or ABSTUDY, so you will have to pay the money back. The 10 per cent HECS-HELP up-front payment discount has also been abolished.
If you’re an apprentice…
… you might want to look for work at a large company in an industry facing skill shortages.
Grants of up to $50.6 million will be provided to peak industry bodies and large employers to develop training programs for approximately 4000 apprentices over four years. An additional $2000 per apprentice will be available for employers to encourage their participation in the program.
If you live overseas…
… but still access family and parental payments the amount of time you can spend abroad has been cut from three years to one year, starting on July 1, 2014. Affected payments include Family Tax Benefit Part A, Schoolkids Bonus and Paid Parental Leave. Australian Defence Force and Australian Federal Police personnel deployed overseas will not be affected.
If you’re a farmer…
… assistance is coming your way. As part of the National Drought Program Reform, the Government is investing $99.4 million for a new Farm Household Allowance, which will support farmers in hardship. The Government will also provide a package of measures to support and assist farmers experiencing acute levels of debt and to help improve their ongoing financial resilience.
If you are an Indigenous Australian…
… studying at school you could be eligible for a scholarship through the Achieving Results Through Indigenous Education (ARTIE) program. The scheme has $4.4 million worth of funding allocated over four years from 2012-13 and will be expanded to benefit around 1,900 students per year in schools in Townsville and Queensland.
Students entering Year 7, 8, and 11 this year will be eligible for additional Indigenous Youth Leadership Program scholarships under a separate budget measure, which are designed to recognise that these are key transition years.
Small business owners will also have potential to access $7.2 million worth of funding over three years to improve the capacity of their companies to engage in the digital economy and take advantage of the National Broadband Network (NBN).
If you’re a smoker…
… the price of a pack of 25 cigarettes will cost you about 7 cents more from 2014. The Government will work out taxes on based on average weekly incomes rather than the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This is to ensure tobacco excise keeps in line with income growth.
If you’re a foreign worker…
… wanting to apply a 457 Visa – do it in the next six weeks. From July 1, 2013 you will be hit with a visa application charge of $900.
Your boss will also be under closer watch, with the Government providing $3.4 million over four years to enable the Fair Work Ombudsman to monitor and enforce employer compliance with 457 visa condition.
If you pay tax…
… a number of tax offsets are being scrapped. The Government will phase out the net medical expenses tax offset (NMETO). The NMETO will only remain available for taxpayers for out of pocket medical expenses relating to disability aids, attendant care or aged care expenses, and this is only until July 1, 2019. The Government is also restricting work-related self-education expense deductions, putting an annual $2000 cap on these expenses from 1 July, 2014.
If you’re an entrepreneur…
… the Government is now investing $378.6 million to stimulate private sector investment in entrepreneurial SMEs. New measures will include improving tax arrangements to encourage investors to back Australian businesses, a program to help SMEs bid for public sector work, $350.0 million for a new round of the Innovation Investment Fund (IIF) program to stimulate venture capital investmen and money to promote success stories in the Australian innovation system.
If you’re a veteran…
… you will have expanded access to mental health services. A $26.4 million investment over four years extended to current and former members of the Australian Defence Force and their families.
If you’re a flood victim…
… in Queensland the Government will provide $69.9 million over five years (including $7.6 million in 2012-13) to assist communities that were adversely affected by flooding that occurred in early 2013. This includes concessional loans of up to $650,000 to eligible businesses and primary producers who have suffered extreme damage.
If you’re a retiree…
… there will be a new 15 per cent tax on super fund earnings above $100,000 per year from July 1, 2014. Australians with superannuation income above $300,000 will also have with their tax concession halved to 15 per cent. For people still contributing to their super, the tax free threshold on contributions has been increased to $35,000 from $25,000, but only for Australians aged above 60 from July 2013, and for those aged above 50 from July 2014. For low income earners, those who earn up to $37,000 a year will effectively pay no tax on super, thanks to a tax cut of up to $500.
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