As the new financial year begins on Tuesday, some of the Abbott government’s first budget measures will start trickling through.
The controversial budget caused shockwaves when it was handed down in May, with sweeping changes announced to return the government’s finances to surplus.
But for those worried about increased health costs, university fee hikes and pension changes, there is some respite, with these measures not due to be introduced until coming years.
Further uncertainty hangs over other budget measures – like the twice yearly indexation of the fuel excise – as they are yet to pass through the Senate and look unlikely to gain support from Labor, the Greens and the Palmer United Party.
Here’s how federal budget changes will – or won’t – affect you from July 1 this year.
❏ High earners: If you earn more than $180,000 a year, the government’s deficit tax will kick in. You will pay an extra 2 per cent tax on earnings above $180,000 for the next three years. For example if you earn $200,000, you will pay an extra $400 a year, and if you earn $300,000 you will pay an extra $2400 a year.
❏ Unemployed people: A new Work for the Dole will start in 18 areas across Australia - including the Shoalhaven. Other changes, which require people to be ‘‘earning, learning or participating in Work for the Dole’’ and introduce a six-month waiting period for Newstart recipients under 30 are not due to be introduced until July 2015.
❏ Aged pensioners: Changes announced to the aged pension will not start until 2017.
❏ University students: The bulk of the government’s higher education reforms – which include deregulated fees and a less generous HECS scheme – won’t hit until July 2016. But if you’re studying now or planning to start, be warned, because some will likely affect you.
❏ Sick people: Don’t worry just yet, the government’s controversial $7 co-payment for GP visits, X-rays and other pathology appointments has yet to be passed by Parliament, and isn’t due to come in until this time next year.
❏ Drivers: You’ll have to wait and see. The government was planing to reintroduce the twice annual indexation of fuel excise to the Consumer Price Index from August, however Greens leader Christine Milne recently said her party would not vote for the measure because the government won’t reinvest the money in public transport.
❏ Apprentices: You will no longer be able to access the Tools For Your Trade payments but, if they pass through Parliament, you will be eligible for the government’s new trade support loans of up to $20,000.
❏ Workers: The national minimum wage will go up to $16.87 an hour, or $640.90 a week and the superannuation guarantee rate will rise from 9.25 per cent to 9.5 per cent.
❏ Workers over 50: From today, the government will introduce a wage subsidy to encourage employers to hire and keep you. Employers will receive $3000 after six months of employment, $3000 after a year of employment, a further $2000 after 18 months and another $2000 after two years.