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ACT budget 2015-16 highlights

By Amy Birchall - 2 June 2015 64

act budget 2015-16

ACT residents will pay higher rates, spend more money on vehicle registration and see pay parking extended after hours in many of Civic’s car parks under the 2015-16 ACT budget handed down this afternoon.

In good news, the ACT Government has allocated more money for health and education than ever before. It also plans to increase the payroll tax threshold and eliminate taxes on general and life insurance by July 2016.

Here are some of the budget highlights:

Economy

  • The Territory’s operating balance will see a deficit of $597 million in 2014-15, and a predicted deficit of $407 million in 2015-16. This is largely due to the Mr Fluffy legacy, cuts to the ACT’s share of the GST and reductions in Commonwealth health funding.
  • The ACT budget is expected to return to a modest surplus of $50 million by 2018-19.
  • The ACT Treasury projects economic growth of 1 1/2 per cent in 2015-16, with year on year employment expected to grow by  3/4 per cent.

Fees and charges

  • General rates will increase by nine per cent on average for both commercial and residential properties.
  • 2015-16 will be the last year that duty will apply on general and life insurance policies, with the tax on insurance being fully abolished on 1 July 2016.
  • Payroll tax threshold will be increased to $2 million by 2016-17.
  • The ambulance levy will increase by $6.24 to $131.56 for individuals and $12.48 to $263.12 for families.
  • The fire and emergency services levy will increase from $130 to $196 for residential and rural properties.

Health

  • The ACT’s overall health budget is $1.5 billion – the biggest it has ever been and nearly one-third of the total ACT Budget.
  • Canberra’s hospitals will receive $161 million in new health funding over four years, including $40.6 million in extra funding for more beds and services, plus $14.8 million over two years to provide an extra 500 elective surgeries.
  • 16 extra acute care beds across Canberra and Calvary Hospitals.
  • Canberra Hospital will receive a new sterilising facility at a cost of $17.3 million.
  • $5.6 million to Calvary Hospital to refurbish and purchase new equipment for its operating theatre, plus an additional $3.7 million for new imaging services.
  • $800,000 in funding to go to drug treatment and support services in response to Canberra’s ice scourge.
  • $31.9 million over four years to boost mental health services.

Education

  • The 2015-16 education budget is $1.1 billion, the biggest in the ACT’s history.
  • $10.7 million to build a new CIT campus in Tuggeranong, plus $2.6 million to upgrade existing CIT campuses at Reid and Bruce.
  • Belconnen High School will receive $18.4 million to refurbish and upgrade existing facilities.
  • $30.3 million for the North Gungahlin Primary School, scheduled to open in January 2019.
  • $37.8 million to replace and upgrade computers and expand wireless capability across ACT primary schools.
  • $1 million to conduct feasibility studies for a Year 7-10 school in North Gungahlin and a primary to Year 10 school in Molonglo.
  • $615,000 for the training of teachers and support staff about domestic violence, and the development of an online resource centre to connect families to support services.

Capital works

  • $700 million has been allocated to capital works in the 2015-16 budget, $200 million of which is new spending.
  • $10.1 million over four years to begin the transformation and renewal of West Basin, with the construction of a new park and intersections on Commonwealth Avenue.
  • $159.2 million over two years to replace 352 public housing properties along the Northbourne Avenue corridor, as well as at Allawah Court and the Red Hill Housing Precinct.
  • The budget explains that the ACT Government will pay for Capital Metro by making a capital contribution of $375 million after construction is complete.
  • $20 million in ongoing Northbourne Avenue corridor work to prepare infrastructure for Capital Metro.
  • $14.2 million over three years to progress the redevelopment of the ACT Supreme and Magistrates courts.

Roads

  • $24.6 million over three years to duplicate Ashley Drive from Erindale Drive to Ellerston Avenue.
  • $62.3 million for road upgrades in Gungahlin, including $31.2 million to duplicate Gundaroo Drive between Gungahlin Drive and Mirrabei Drive.
  • Traffic lights at the intersections of Belconnen Way and Springvale Drive, and where Hindmarsh Drive intersects with Launceston Street and Eggleston Crescent.
  • $700,000 to undertake strengthening works on bridges along the Monaro Highway from Pialligo Avenue to Isabella Drive.

Transport

  • $2.3 million to progress the Government’s transport reform agenda and adapt to future transport challenges.
  • Introduction of after hours paid parking in Civic from 1 September 2015 is expected to generate $5 million in additional revenue over four years.
  • Car, truck, motorbike and trailer registrations will increase by five per cent.
  • Cost of drivers’ licences to rise by three per cent (a five-year full licence issue or renewal will now cost $171.60, up from $167.10).
  • Car registration administration fees reduced from $15 per transaction to $10 per transaction.
  • Six per cent increase in paid parking. The hit equates to about $230 extra for full-time workers in Canberra this year.
  • $1.3 million over four years to increase the operation of Canberra’s mobile speed cameras.

Suburban renewal

  • $8 million over four years for more frequent mowing, weed control, maintenance of trees, shrubs, lakes and ponds, plus and graffiti methods.
  • $200,000 for playground safety upgrades.
  • $1.7 million to revamp the Erindale and Weston Group Centres.
  • $250,000for feasibility studies to improve walking and cycling access around Tuggeranong and Kingston.
  • $1.5 million over two years for lighting and footpath improvements in Haig Park, and Mort and Lonsdale Streets in Braddon.

Home buyers

  • First home owners grant to be reduced from $12,500 to $10,000 from 1 January 2016, and to $7000 from 1 January 2017.
  • Stamp duty cuts of up to one third to target middle and lower end of the market.

Sport

  • Funding for Melrose High School oval upgrade, including a FIFA accredited synthetic soccer field.
  • $4.6 million over two years to upgrade Phillip Oval.
  • $871,000 in extra funding to maintain the quality of neighbourhood ovals.

Justice and social inclusion

  • Funding for a fifth ACT Supreme Court judge at a cost of $3.1 million over three years.
  • $2.1 million over four years to allow adult offenders to participate in restorative justice.
  • $156 million for ACT Policing, up $1 million on the previous budget.
  • An additional $867,000 in funding for Canberra’s Legal Aid Commission.
  • $107 million in recurrent funding for disability and therapy services, plus $83.4 million for child and youth protection services and $160 million for housing and homelessness support.

What’s Your opinion?


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64 Responses to
ACT budget 2015-16 highlights
Tymefor 11:14 am 03 Jun 15

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

“Introduction of after hours paid parking in Civic from 1 September 2015 is expected to generate $5 million in additional revenue over four years.”

So for the sake of a measly 5 million dollars they will further discourage people from visiting Civic. Didn’t we just have a thread about how Civic is quiet and not vibrant enough? If they were going to make some decent coin I’d understand, but for the sake of less than one percent of the deficit they will discourage late night shopping and after hours access.

Be interesting to see how much they raise rates in the years to come, too.

Hmm I wonder how much of the people using those parks because they aren’t being charged atm, will move to the underground parks which I think will end up being cheaper now. The underground CC ones are $2 untimed? at the times the Gov ones are extending to.

Rollersk8r 9:30 am 03 Jun 15

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

“Introduction of after hours paid parking in Civic from 1 September 2015 is expected to generate $5 million in additional revenue over four years.”

So for the sake of a measly 5 million dollars they will further discourage people from visiting Civic. Didn’t we just have a thread about how Civic is quiet and not vibrant enough? If they were going to make some decent coin I’d understand, but for the sake of less than one percent of the deficit they will discourage late night shopping and after hours access.

Be interesting to see how much they raise rates in the years to come, too.

Exactly. And longer paid parking hours also means – you guessed it – lots more parking fines! Hooray for easy revenue! People should pay for the luxury of leaving the house. You want to save money? Stay at home!

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 6:42 pm 02 Jun 15

“Introduction of after hours paid parking in Civic from 1 September 2015 is expected to generate $5 million in additional revenue over four years.”

So for the sake of a measly 5 million dollars they will further discourage people from visiting Civic. Didn’t we just have a thread about how Civic is quiet and not vibrant enough? If they were going to make some decent coin I’d understand, but for the sake of less than one percent of the deficit they will discourage late night shopping and after hours access.

Be interesting to see how much they raise rates in the years to come, too.

dungfungus 6:17 pm 02 Jun 15

Rollersk8r said :

Two things:

1. Every year they attempt to justify increased parking and motoring costs on environmental/public transport grounds – and the fact it’s still cheap to park here compared to Sydney. Wow, really? Why not just be upfront: cranking up the prices won’t do a thing to change behaviour – but we need the money!

2. They admit dependence on the Federal Public Service, while increasing the prices of everything. Those same public servants – all of them – are now entering their second financial year without a payrise. While it’s out of the ACT Government’s control, it doesn’t change the fact that it means people have less and less money to spend.

This is how the government is going to end up wedging its self.
They need us motorists to soak and subsidise all the crazy schemes they think up; the tram being the biggest so far.
The Canberra public servants had to forgo their wage rise to pay for Katy Gallagher’s relocation.
Get your priorities in order please.
Someone mentioned in a CT Letter to The Editor today that the government were planning to build and operate a luxury hotel adjacent to Manuka oval.
It will be called “The Rhodium Mirage”.

dungfungus 5:46 pm 02 Jun 15

“The budget explains that the ACT Government will pay for Capital Metro by making a capital contribution of $375 million after construction is complete.”

That is a lot of money in one hit.
What happened to the PPP? It wasn’t going to cost us anything to build, remember?
Is the money to subsidise operating costs?
I don’t really understand what is going on.

Masquara 5:46 pm 02 Jun 15

Andrew Barr was at my local shopping centre a couple of years ago denying to all and sundry that rates were going to triple …

Masquara 5:45 pm 02 Jun 15

Reading between the lines, you can’t half tell the ACT Government is fully aware that light rail is utterly on the nose with ACT voters! Not to be mentioned by name, it appears … so why are they still proceeding with something none of us want other than a handful of Snow Job types?

Rollersk8r 5:14 pm 02 Jun 15

Two things:

1. Every year they attempt to justify increased parking and motoring costs on environmental/public transport grounds – and the fact it’s still cheap to park here compared to Sydney. Wow, really? Why not just be upfront: cranking up the prices won’t do a thing to change behaviour – but we need the money!

2. They admit dependence on the Federal Public Service, while increasing the prices of everything. Those same public servants – all of them – are now entering their second financial year without a payrise. While it’s out of the ACT Government’s control, it doesn’t change the fact that it means people have less and less money to spend.

Mysteryman 4:49 pm 02 Jun 15

Great! More increases to rates – they’re on target to triple just like the Libs predicted. Also, extending paid parking to 10:30pm in the city, and making people pay on weekends. Increased costs to car/motorcycle rego. First home buyers grants being cut…What wonderful news.

Thanks, Andrew Barr!

Also, I think it’s pretty laughable that he’s forecast a return decreasing deficits over the next 3 years and a return to surplus. What a joke!

Amy Birchall 4:33 pm 02 Jun 15

vintage123 said :

I thought there may be some cash for a hospital to the north?

Hey vintage123, there are plans for a public hospital at UC, though the amount to be spent is proving difficult to find in this year’s budget papers. An additional 400 new car parks at the UC hospital are definitely being funded, but not sure about how they’re funding the hospital itself. I’ll let you know if I can find the answer.

HiddenDragon 4:31 pm 02 Jun 15

A further increase in general rates of nine percent on average, and five percent increases in vehicle registration costs (continuing at least until 2018-19), will doubtless be very well received by all those Canberra households and businesses whose incomes are stagnating, if not declining.

There is the thrilling news of the phasing out of duties on insurance policies, and, of course, not the slightest possible chance…… that any of the reduced levies will be creamed off through premiums which increase by more than would otherwise have been the case.

This will do absolute wonders for all those businesses and jobs which rely on Canberrans spending the money left after the tax man takes his slice.

Daffodil 4:28 pm 02 Jun 15

I’m pleased to see that something is finally going to be done about the Launceston St/Hindmarsh Dr intersection. There seem to be accidents there far too frequently.

vintage123 4:27 pm 02 Jun 15

$31.2 million to duplicate Gundaroo Drive between Gungahlin Drive and Mirrabei Drive.

Wow, that’s a lot for only a couple of hundred meters of road, well maybe 500m. Maybe it includes another bridge along Mirrabei. Does anyone have any more info on this.

vintage123 4:15 pm 02 Jun 15

I thought there may be some cash for a hospital to the north?

tim_c 3:58 pm 02 Jun 15

“$24.6 million over three years to duplicate Ashley Drive from Erindale Drive to Ellerston Avenue.”

Surely duplicating the entire length to Johnson Dr at the same time would be petty cash compared to the cost of getting someone to come back and do the last ~100m as a separate project a later date. Has the ACT Government really learned nothing from past mistakes (eg. Cotter Rd or the Gunghastly Driveway Extension)?

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