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9 May 2017

Federal Budget 2017 – What you need to know

It’s that time of year again, Federal Budget night. You’ve seen the news and maybe even discussed the pre-budget rumours with a friend. But, you’re also really busy and, like the rest of us, are looking for a quick summary of the final announcements. We’re here to help demystify the proposed budget and focus on what everyday Australians, like you, need to know.

Housing

Definitely the buzz topic of the Budget, plans are being made to help more Australians own their own home.

  • The focus this budget is very much on affordable housing. This includes incentives for older Australians to downsize.
  • First time home buyers can now salary-sacrifice contributions into their superannuation for home buying purposes from their pre-tax pay.
  • ghost house tax will be imposed on foreign investors that leave their houses empty.
  • No changes to negative gearing.

Education

The budget had some bad news for university students with more expensive degrees but a boost for the average school level student.

  • Funding for schools will significantly increase over the next 10 years.
  • Uni fees are set to rise, which adds up to $3,600 for a four-year course.
  • Graduates will have to start paying their HECS debts sooner than ever, with the income threshold reduced from $55,000 to $42,000.
  • A win for students is Commonwealth Supported Places in programs such as diplomas.

Health

Good news for patients in this year’s budget. The Government proposes improvements to treatment and pharmaceuticals.

  • The National Disability Insurance Scheme will be fully funded by the Government, which is an estimated $9.1 billion to help disabled Australians.
  • Doctors are also now being incentivised to prescribe more generic brand medicine, which will save Australians’ hip pockets over the next five years.
  • Out-of-pocket costs for medicines will be reduced and extra medicines have been added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
  • The Medicare Levy will increase from 2 per cent to 2.5 per cent, but this will help to fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Tax reform

Tax paying Australians will soon be paying more, but this will help fund the NDIS and increase school funding.

  • The Medicare Levy will rise to help fund Australia’s public health system.
  • Businesses that operate on a cash only basis are set to be targeted with new sectors falling under the taxable payments reporting system.

Infrastructure

A whopping $75 billion has been outlined for new infrastructure over the next 10 years.

  • The budget also included details on the funding ($5.3bn) of the second Sydney airport. This will create 20,000 jobs over the eight-year construction period.
  • Investment in the inland rail network between Brisbane and Melbourne to help farmers move their goods quickly.

Social Care

The Government are shaking up the social care and welfare system, with payments being consolidated and increased pressure on job seekers.

  • Australians currently on the age and disability support pensions will receive a one-off cash payment of $75 for singles and $125 for couples to help cover energy bills.
  • Additional Medicare levy introduced to fully fund the NDIS.
  • The Child Care Subsidy will ensure low to middle incomes families needing to use more child care will not face an annual cap.
  • Other welfare budget measures are focused on getting Australians back to work.

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