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Budget 2016 | Little joy for Canberrans

By Michael Reid - 3 May 2016 15

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At a glance

– $2 billion cut from departmental budgets over four years

– No jobs growth for public sector

– No new infrastructure money for ACT

 

Scott Morrison on Tuesday delivered a cautious pre-election budget that offered Canberrans little to get excited about and further pain for the public service.

The ACT public sector will continue to bear a heavy burden as the Coalition seeks to reduce this year’s $37 billion deficit to just $6 billion within four years.

In his budget speech to parliament, the Treasurer declared the Coalition would not relent in its quest to cut costs.

“In this budget we will continue to cut unnecessary waste and keep government spending under control to balance the budget over time,” he said.

An extra $2 billion, the so-called efficiency dividend, is to be removed from departmental budgets across the four-year forward estimates period as the Coalition reneged on a pledge to pull back in its drive to save costs.

The dividend, imposed across the public sector, will remain at 2.5 per cent before dropping to 2 per cent in 2018-19.

Canberra’s national cultural institutions were particularly hard hit by budget measures, with more than 60 staff jobs set to go in 2016-17 after the government revealed in March that national institutions would be forced to deliver nearly $40 million of savings within four years, above earlier federal budget cuts.

The cuts include a loss of 28 positions at the National Library of Australia, 20 at the National Gallery, 12 at the National Film and Sound Archive and three at the National Portrait Gallery. The Australia Council will lose one position.

There was some cheer for the ACT government, however, with confirmation some health and education funding would be restored after it was slashed in the unpopular 2014 budget delivered by Joe Hockey.

One of the few funding commitments for the ACT was $300,000 for the Travel Time Information project, with $250,000 in 2016-17 to enable the project to be completed next financial year.

No other cash was set aside for major projects for the capital. Unusually, there were very few election sweeteners for voters, who will go to the polls in less than nine weeks.

Instead, the safety-first approach was designed to emphasise the Turnbull government’s credentials for sound economic management.

The budget included tax relief for middle-income earners and small business, but Mr Morrison told parliament it was not the time to be “splashing money around” given the fragile state of the global economy.

The treasurer’s modest maiden budget came on the day the Reserve Bank made history by announcing its first ever budget day interest rate cut, to an all-time low of 1.75 per cent.

Key features of Mr Morrison’s economic blueprint were:

  • a crackdown on multinational tax avoidance
  • a reduction in lucrative superannuation tax breaks for the rich
  • a tax cut for small and medium sized-businesses – down one percentage point to 27.5% – as part of a long-term plan to bring the overall company tax rate down to 25 per cent within 10 years.
  • a tax cut for workers earning more than $80,000.

Low income earners will receive a superannuation tax offset from next year to ensure those on less than $37,000 do not pay more tax on retirement savings than on their income.

Mr Morrison announced the government would spend $594 million on researching and acquiring land for an inland rail network connecting Brisbane to Melbourne, and linking south-east Queensland with Perth and Adelaide.

The Coalition will enlist the government-owned Australian Rail Track Corporation to build the project but will also seek private investment. The corporation will use the money to buy land for the 1700km freight line and continue pre-construction works, such as environmental assessments.

 

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15 Responses to
Budget 2016 | Little joy for Canberrans
watto23 11:20 am 09 May 16

devils_advocate said :

Mordd said :

Lurker2913 said :

Any move to scrap bulk-billing or to charge a co-payment would be a direct decision of the providers themselves, as well as a greedy and selfish move.

And you don’t suspect that a “for profit” business wouldn’t try to make an extra buck wherever possible, especially if the government gives them the excuse to do so? I know a particular imaging place that complained to me about how my scan was going to actually cost them money [they wouldn’t be making a cent from it] because it was bulk billed through the Medicare system. Given any reason I am sure they would make a small [or large] fee applicable to everybody if the government reduced or removed the current rebates. They are after all a business, not a charity.
GP bulk billing payments are also in the pipeline to be frozen, meaning co-ops will have to charge their patients to keep their doctor’s wages on the rise, or they will lose their staff to other practices.
Just as Labor has been predicting, our level of health care will be determined by our credit card, not our Medicare card. [Disclaimer – I am in no way affiliated with the Labor party or its campaign for the election, I am simply a concerned lower income earner who relies on our public health system being available to those who cannot afford to pay for medical treatments themselves.]

You are missing the point completely. If you start getting charged for bulk-billed pathology tests then you need to start complaining to the greedy companies charging you. It would be their fault, not the government’s. They managed to survive for decades without the extra incentive, they can do so aga
in. Place the blame where it’s due.

But there has been freezes to medicare rebates to health service providers on and off for years. the amount for a GP certainly has not gone up by inflation every year, yet private health funds get 6%-10% each year. I’m happy to pay tax for health services of others, as long as everyone is paying taxes. I’m sick of hearing of the so called hard working wealthy who seem to cry poor all the time and need more tax cuts, while forever finding ways to use the tax system to reduce their taxes and increase their wealth, because they don’t need to worry about it. Yet they’ll be the first to call the police because people are unemployed and resort to stealing. The police who are at best paid average wages yet work just as hard as anyone else. The sooner we get rid of the notion that the wealthy worked harder the better IMO, because they didn’t in 99% of cases.

Mysteryman 4:39 pm 08 May 16

Mordd said :

Lurker2913 said :

Any move to scrap bulk-billing or to charge a co-payment would be a direct decision of the providers themselves, as well as a greedy and selfish move.

And you don’t suspect that a “for profit” business wouldn’t try to make an extra buck wherever possible, especially if the government gives them the excuse to do so? I know a particular imaging place that complained to me about how my scan was going to actually cost them money [they wouldn’t be making a cent from it] because it was bulk billed through the Medicare system. Given any reason I am sure they would make a small [or large] fee applicable to everybody if the government reduced or removed the current rebates. They are after all a business, not a charity.
GP bulk billing payments are also in the pipeline to be frozen, meaning co-ops will have to charge their patients to keep their doctor’s wages on the rise, or they will lose their staff to other practices.
Just as Labor has been predicting, our level of health care will be determined by our credit card, not our Medicare card. [Disclaimer – I am in no way affiliated with the Labor party or its campaign for the election, I am simply a concerned lower income earner who relies on our public health system being available to those who cannot afford to pay for medical treatments themselves.]

You are missing the point completely. If you start getting charged for bulk-billed pathology tests then you need to start complaining to the greedy companies charging you. It would be their fault, not the government’s. They managed to survive for decades without the extra incentive, they can do so again. Place the blame where it’s due.

gooterz 1:07 pm 08 May 16

madelini said :

switch said :

Why would they the current ACT gov anything , wastefull bunch of overpowering wannabe’s ? They are currently wasting $1 million on real time traffic information when there are plenty of private companies already doing that.

The traffic lights are always red in Canberra, You leave one set of lights always to be stopped at the next set of traffic lights. Some traffic lights you sit waiting for 2 minutes for a Green light even when nothing is coming in the cross directions.

Have you ever tried going 90 in an 80 zone? You’ll get all the green lights, especially on Drakeford Drive. They are trying to train everybody to drive 10km/h over the limit so they can cash in on speeding revenue. The one that irks me the most is the timed traffic lights that sit red for many minutes with no traffic coming the other way, purely because it is during peak hour, but still does it on Saturday and Sunday when nobody is going to work. Creating congestion seems to be their objective, because a 5 year old could program the timing better.

Does civic have the same light timing?

Last graph I saw of drakeford was that it was 80 all the way through however I have noticed it seems a bit different lately.

dungfungus 12:33 pm 08 May 16

Mysteryman said :

switch said :

Why would they the current ACT gov anything , wastefull bunch of overpowering wannabe’s ? They are currently wasting $1 million on real time traffic information when there are plenty of private companies already doing that.

The traffic lights are always red in Canberra, You leave one set of lights always to be stopped at the next set of traffic lights. Some traffic lights you sit waiting for 2 minutes for a Green light even when nothing is coming in the cross directions.

Don’t worry, the tram network comes with traffic light priority and it will always be a green light for the trams. problem solved – you’re welcome 😛

Problem solved for the trams = problem created for the cross traffic.

Mordd 3:50 am 08 May 16

switch said :

Why would they the current ACT gov anything , wastefull bunch of overpowering wannabe’s ? They are currently wasting $1 million on real time traffic information when there are plenty of private companies already doing that.

The traffic lights are always red in Canberra, You leave one set of lights always to be stopped at the next set of traffic lights. Some traffic lights you sit waiting for 2 minutes for a Green light even when nothing is coming in the cross directions.

Don’t worry, the tram network comes with traffic light priority and it will always be a green light for the trams. problem solved – you’re welcome 😛

wildturkeycanoe 6:56 am 07 May 16

switch said :

Why would they the current ACT gov anything , wastefull bunch of overpowering wannabe’s ? They are currently wasting $1 million on real time traffic information when there are plenty of private companies already doing that.

The traffic lights are always red in Canberra, You leave one set of lights always to be stopped at the next set of traffic lights. Some traffic lights you sit waiting for 2 minutes for a Green light even when nothing is coming in the cross directions.

Have you ever tried going 90 in an 80 zone? You’ll get all the green lights, especially on Drakeford Drive. They are trying to train everybody to drive 10km/h over the limit so they can cash in on speeding revenue. The one that irks me the most is the timed traffic lights that sit red for many minutes with no traffic coming the other way, purely because it is during peak hour, but still does it on Saturday and Sunday when nobody is going to work. Creating congestion seems to be their objective, because a 5 year old could program the timing better.

wildturkeycanoe 6:38 am 06 May 16

Lurker2913 said :

Any move to scrap bulk-billing or to charge a co-payment would be a direct decision of the providers themselves, as well as a greedy and selfish move.

And you don’t suspect that a “for profit” business wouldn’t try to make an extra buck wherever possible, especially if the government gives them the excuse to do so? I know a particular imaging place that complained to me about how my scan was going to actually cost them money [they wouldn’t be making a cent from it] because it was bulk billed through the Medicare system. Given any reason I am sure they would make a small [or large] fee applicable to everybody if the government reduced or removed the current rebates. They are after all a business, not a charity.
GP bulk billing payments are also in the pipeline to be frozen, meaning co-ops will have to charge their patients to keep their doctor’s wages on the rise, or they will lose their staff to other practices.
Just as Labor has been predicting, our level of health care will be determined by our credit card, not our Medicare card. [Disclaimer – I am in no way affiliated with the Labor party or its campaign for the election, I am simply a concerned lower income earner who relies on our public health system being available to those who cannot afford to pay for medical treatments themselves.]

gazket 4:24 pm 05 May 16

Why would they the current ACT gov anything , wastefull bunch of overpowering wannabe’s ? They are currently wasting $1 million on real time traffic information when there are plenty of private companies already doing that.

The traffic lights are always red in Canberra, You leave one set of lights always to be stopped at the next set of traffic lights. Some traffic lights you sit waiting for 2 minutes for a Green light even when nothing is coming in the cross directions.

Mysteryman 10:40 am 05 May 16

wildturkeycanoe said :

No mention of the … charges for blood tests and imaging..

Are you referring to the scrapping of the extra payment that the government makes to pathology providers who bulk-bill bloodtests? The one pathology providers were crying about and trying to make it sound like the government was going to force people to pay for blood tests, when in reality there was no such plan? Because removal of that payment doesn’t mean that people will have to pay for the tests – despite what the pathology providers have said. It just means that the privately owned pathology providers would have a minutely smaller profit since they wouldn’t receive an *additional* $1-5 government payment per bulk-billed test provided. Any move to scrap bulk-billing or to charge a co-payment would be a direct decision of the providers themselves, as well as a greedy and selfish move.

wildturkeycanoe 6:32 am 05 May 16

No mention of the freeze on Medicare rebates, charges for blood tests and imaging, the slashing of the number of employees working for Centerlink? Looks like the lowest income earners and welfare recipients are going to be much, much worse off from this budget than anyone else. Typical Liberal government, always looking after the big end of town whilst stomping all over the poor people. I hope voters remember these cuts at election time and kick the cretins out of government.

dungfungus 12:48 pm 04 May 16

dungfungus said :

And yet we’ll still re-elect Zed.

You can vote for someone else you know.

Mysteryman 12:40 pm 04 May 16

The budget is finally going to address the issues of MNC tax avoidance, and high income earner tax avoidance. It’s also going to make life a little easier on small business. These are good things.

dungfungus said :

And yet we’ll still re-elect Zed.

Hopefully. He’s doing a lot more than Gallagher. And Gai Brodtmann, for that matter.

Nilrem 11:57 am 04 May 16

dungfungus said :

And yet we’ll still re-elect Zed.

Certainly the most unrepresentative of our representatives. Same-sex marriage: fail. Public service cuts: fail. Euthanasia: fail. Republic: fail.

rommeldog56 10:41 am 04 May 16

dungfungus said :

And yet we’ll still re-elect Zed.

Yes – but the Labor/Greens options for the ACT Senate seats are just as bad – if not worse, IMHO. Too much party think and spin.

Personally, although I don’t agree with some of what they say, I hope the Xenophon Party stands candidates for ACT Senate. At least that Xenophon seems to give some thought to issues. Would be good, or at least a change, to be represented by someone other than Labor/Greens/Liberal who will vote on an issue by issue basis.

mikal 7:48 am 04 May 16

And yet we’ll still re-elect Zed.

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