SURE, Scott Morrison has delivered his second Budget declaring there are “better days ahead”, but here is what it actually means for you.
If you’re a first-home buyer …
Young people saving for a deposit on their first home will be able to use their superannuation as a sort of supercharged savings account.
From July 1, savers will be able to salary sacrifice from their pre-tax income extra amounts over the compulsory superannuation contribution, up to a maximum of $30,000.
You will be able to withdraw that cash, along with any earnings, from July 1, 2018. The deposit will attract the tax benefits of superannuation — contributions and earnings will be taxed at 15 per cent, and withdrawals will be taxed at 30 per cent below the marginal tax rate. Treasurer Scott Morrison says the scheme will accelerate savings by “at least 30 per cent” compared with a typical deposit savings account.
If you’re a baby boomer with a big house …
You’re being encouraged to sell it to make way for “younger, growing families”. From July 1, 2018, people aged 65 or over will be able to make a non-concessional superannuation contribution of up to $300,000 from the proceeds of their primary residence, provided they have lived there for at least 10 years.
The “downsizer” contribution, which both members of a couple will be able to take advantage of, is in addition to the current contribution rules and caps, and will be exempt from the existing age test, work test and the $1.6 million balance test for making non-concessional contributions.
If you are sick or need to see a doctor …
If you want to see your GP, you’re in luck, as the Medicare rebate freeze is to be lifted, starting with incentivising doctors to bulk bill from July this year.
If you need more support, you will have to wait a little longer for cheap care, with the index freeze lifted on specialist consultations next year, specialist procedures the year after and advanced procedures such as radiation in 2020.
You could also save some cash on medicine as doctors will be encouraged to prescribe more generic brands to save the taxpayer $1.8 billion. New listings on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme will include a $510 million new drug for patients with chronic heart failure.
If you are a pensioner …
The pensioner concession card will be restored to those who lost it after the pension assets test change introduced earlier this year, so seniors will regain access to state and territory based concessions that were withdrawn after the change.
Up to 3.5 million people on the age and disability support pensions and parenting payment will also receive one-off cash payments to help cover their winter energy bills — $75 for singles and $125 for couples.
The Government will also provide $5.5 billion for home support services for the elderly as Australia’s population continues to age.
But the residency requirements will be tougher, with recipients required to have 15 years of continuous Australian residence.
If you’re a university student …
You’ll face a 7.5 per cent tuition fee hike, phased in over four years starting in 2018. The maximum increase for a four-year, government-subsidised degree will be $3600, costing up to $50,000. A subsidised six-year medical degree will cost up to $75,000.
You’ll also have to start repaying your tuition fee loans as soon as you reach an income of $42,000 instead of $51,957. High earners (over $119,882) will pay 10 per cent of their income instead of eight per cent.
What’s more, the repayments will be indexed to the consumer price index instead of the faster-rising average weekly wages, which will mean higher repayments over the longer term.
And even if you’re paying more, your experience may not get any better, with the Government looking to cut $2.8 billion from university funding over four years, dependent on performance.
If you are a parent …
Parents hoping for an increase in the family tax benefit will be disappointed, with the Government opting not to proceed with a promised increase of $20 a fortnight per child, saving the Budget $2 billion over four years.
Families will be subjected to an income taper test, losing 30 cents of their family tax benefit for every dollar they earn over $94,316 from July 2018, saving the Government $415.4 million over five years. The changes will mean 100,000 families will lose access to the family tax benefit.
On the plus side, the Budget includes $37.3 billion for child care over three years from July, to be allocated to about one million Australian families. A single, means-tested child care subsidy will replace previous child care benefits and rebates.
Families earning $185,710 or less and who need to use more child care will no longer face an annual cap. Those who earn more than $185,710 will have their child care rebates capped at $10,000.
Parents of pre-school-aged children will keep their guaranteed 15 hours a week of free access.
Wealthy families will have their child care subsidies cut off once they earn a combined $350,000 a year — saving taxpayers $119 million over three years from 2018.
If you or your children are at school …
Whether you get more iPads will very much depend on which school you go to.
An extra $19 billion will be injected into school funding over the next decade under David Gonski’s needs-based model, originally championed by Labor. But the model will not discriminate between public, private and Catholic schools, so 24 of the nation’s wealthiest schools will experience “negative growth” in their funding and 350 “slower growth”.
More than 9400 schools will see an uptick in funding, however.
Funding will increase from $17.5 billion this year to $22.1 billion by 2021 and $30.6 billion by 2027.
If you are on welfare …
Dealing with Centrelink may become simpler, with the Budget including $5.5 million worth of measures to cut red tape and improve information sharing between departments.
The agency’s call centre will get an extra 250 workers in a pilot aimed at slashing call waiting times.
But don’t expect an easy time if you’re unemployed; the Budget includes new measures to crack down on drug users and cheats.
Tough new rules forecast to save $632 million over five years include penalties for people who fail to turn up to appointments due to intoxication.
Drug users and alcoholics will be made ineligible for disability pensions for medical conditions “caused solely by their own substance abuse”.
The Government will launch a drug testing trial among 5000 new welfare recipients.
The agency will also tighten regulation of single parent payments, targeting those who fraudulently collect multiple payments. This could mean single-parent households will be subjected to closer scrutiny to verify their relationship status.
If you or someone you care about has mental health problems …
You could start getting more support, with the Government committing a package of $165 million to mental health support and prevention, including $80 million for community psychosocial services, more than $50 million to support veterans and $15 million for
research initiatives at national youth centre Orygen, the Black Dog Institute and the Thompson Institute.
If you have a disability …
The Government has affirmed it will fully fund its contribution to the National Disability Insurance Scheme, through an increase to the Medicare levy.
It means the NDIS is on track to be rolled out nationally by 2020, giving certainty to Australians with a permanent and significant disability, their families and carers.
The NDIS is on track to be rolled out in NSW and South Australia by July 2018, then the Northern Territory, Tasmania, Queensland, the ACT and Victoria by 2019.
Finally, the program will be rolled out in Western Australia by 2020, through a national partnership agreement with $868 million of Federal funding.
More than $200 million has been allocated to set up an independent NDIS Quality and
Safeguards Commission, which will monitor the quality and safety of services and handle complaints.
The Budget also includes $24 million over four years to overhaul the Disability Employment Services program, promising to make it easier for participants to choose and change providers.
If you’re a small business owner …
The $20,000 instant asset tax write-off, introduced in last year’s budget, is being extended for another year to June 30, 2018, and will be open to businesses with an annual turnover of up to $10 million, up from $2 million. The Government has also promised payments of up to $300 million over two years to states and territory governments which cut down red tape for small business. It claims the red tape burden at the federal level has already been reduced by more than $5.8 billion.
If you’re a property investor …
Negative gearing rules for property investors are being tightened. You will no longer be able to claim tax deductions for travel expenses related to owning and renting an investment property, due to widespread rorting of the system with people claiming deductions for private travel.
And rules are also being tightened around depreciation deductions for plant and equipment items such as washing machines and ceiling fans. From budget night, you will only be able to claim the deductions if you actually purchased the item yourself. In the past, successive investors were able to claim depreciation on the same items, well in excess of their value.
If you’re a foreign investor …
Foreign investors in Australian property will no longer be able to claim primary residence exemption for capital gains tax purposes, in a measure which is expected to bring in an extra $581 million over the next four years. And if you buy a property only to leave it empty or fail to rent it out for at least six months of the year, you’ll be slugged with a “ghost tax” equal to the foreign investment application fee you paid at the time of application, which will work out to at least $5000. Foreign investors will also be limited to a 50 per cent of purchases in new developments, to give Australian buyers the opportunity.
If you operate in cash …
The crackdown on the so-called “black economy” is ramping up, with courier and cleaning contractors set to fall under the taxable payments reporting system from 1 July 2018. It is also banning technology that allows businesses to falsify sales records to avoid paying tax. Under the TPRS, which already exists in the construction sector, businesses are required to report payments they make to contractors to the ATO. The government estimates the measure will bring in $318 million revenue over the next four years.
If you love public transport …
It seems the government hasn’t given up on the dream of fast rail, providing $20 million in 2017-18 to support the development of business cases for projects that would deliver faster rail connections between major cities and regional centres. The government says it will provide up to 50 per cent of the funding for the development of up to three business cases.
The Government will put $600 million over two years from 2019-20 towards a $10 billion National Rail Program to better connect cities and regions, as well as providing an extra $500 million to fund regional rail in Victoria.
If that wasn’t enough, it will spend $12 million over three years from 2017-18 to establish mobile and internet connectivity along the train route between Hornsby and Wyong.
If you are worried about your power bills …
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will get $7.9 million in 2017-18 to review retail electricity prices. It will produce a preliminary paper within six months and deliver a final report before June 30, 2018.
If you’re a veteran …
Hopefully your claims for rehabilitation, compensation and income support will be processed more quickly thanks to $13.5 million in funding for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
Mental health services will also be expanded for current and former defence members as part of a $33.5 million funding over four years. Another $9.8 million over three years will be put towards supporting suicide prevention efforts.
Veterans will also be helped to find work thanks to $2.7 million to be delivered over four years as well as $9.1 million that will go towards a six-month pilot program.
Families won’t be forgotten, with $8.5 million over four years to go towards expanding access to a counselling service.
If you were there when the nuclear tests in Australia happened …
Soldiers and other participants who were at Maralinga and Emu Field in South Australia, and on the Montebello Islands in Western Australia when the British Government conducted tests of nuclear weapons, will have their medical bills paid for.
The Government is providing $133.1 million over four years so they can access a Gold Card to cover their bills for any medical condition, regardless of whether their condition is linked to their service.
This article first appeared on the news.com.au website.