At the end of April many of you shared your thoughts on the upcoming budget – what you feared and predictions of what might take place.
Tonight Joe Hockey handed down his first budget. It was expected to be harsh and speculation had been rife for weeks. In some ways, having something set in stone to end that speculation was almost a relief. Almost.
The main factors that had come up as concerns for you guys were:
Middle Class Welfare
Deficit Levy – hopes that it would be applied to companies and trusts
Inclusion of family homes > $500k in pension calculations
Paid Parental Leave (PPL)
For all the ‘sound-bites’ taking place tonight, the ones that stick are ‘we are a nation of lifters, not movers’ and that it is a ‘contribute and build’ process. I can just imagine a team of people locked in a room for hours on end until they came up with the slogans for the budget.
They predict $36bn savings in 4 years. The pragmatist (and I must confess economic gumby) in me can’t help but go back to the household income or small business mentality of keeping things in the black, although I can appreciate that the investment needs are much bigger, and indeed more complicated than that. In part, although I found Tony’s face a bit smug for my liking given the scolding being handed out – there were parts I agreed with.
I am in no way an economic expert – far from it, but here I inscribe my thoughts in the stone that is RiotACT.
The ‘earn or learn’ theory to me is OK – I’m on board with the idea that young people should be either working or in education. The bit that doesn’t sit well is the 6 month wait on Newstart for unemployed under 30 (kicking in and out in 6 month cycles until they find a job or turn 30). I think it makes a fairly dated assumption that those studying (or under 30) are at home and fully supported by mum and dad. I know a lot of students supporting themselves through their educations and plenty of people under 30 with no dependence on their folks (many of whom wouldn’t have the means to support them if they were) . What happens to those who don’t have ‘the bank of mum and dad’ to fall back on?
The medical research fund was a surprise. I am relieved that in some way we are attempting to stay cutting edge as a Nation. The $7 co-payment that will fund this generally sits OK with me, but there is such a big ‘gap’ for GP visits, an extra $7 doesn’t seem overwhelming. I would worry if it stops people seeing a GP who really need it – particularly children. I feel the same about the extra $5 for prescriptions. All well and good but what happens when someone can’t afford medicines for their kids?
Cutting the Carbon and Mining taxes. As much as I’m lax to open the debate on this again, the carbon tax seemed to be bedding in – I wonder if it was more a ‘point making’ exercise than one that has real impact versus the cost and I tend to think the miners should pay a pretty nice slice of their toils back into the pocket of our fair country.
Fuel excise to rise in line with inflation – I remember the days of paying 60c a litre. Enough said.
Family Tax Benefits – There is always a population who is going to be really hurt by this, but I know plenty of families who are receiving tax benefits that are a bonus rather than something they really need to get by. I do fear that along with cutting the benefit to those who don’t necessarily need it, it will really hurt those who do.
Gonski is gone-ski… How are we going to thrive as a Nation without world class educations for our kids? I think this is short-sighted.
PPL is in there and will include superannuation. The $ terms are set as minimum wage (as a minimum) for 6 months. I can’t find a cap on it, but generally think it should be minimum wage with a company having the option to ‘top it up’ as part of their remuneration package.
Hospitals able to charge for ER visits that only required a GP. I am on board with this as long as it can be linked to the Healthcare line. Many times I have called the healthline to be told to take them to emergency, when actually it was maybe something that could have been GP solved. Without medical training, especially with kids – it can be a hard call to make.
There’s my 10c in any case.
The ABC is running a handy little ‘winners and losers’ page for those like me who have a bit of a challenge wading through the more analytical reports.