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The Budget in Detail

Education:
– The Gonski school funding plan will be dumped in 2017-2018 to save $30 billion
– Deregulation of higher education tuition fees, with student contribution to a university degree cap to be removed
– The interest rate charged on FEE-HELP loans will be changed from its current indexation to reflect inflation to a government bond rate equivalent, which is generally much higher than inflation
– The minimum income threshold required for people to begin repaying their FEE-HELP loan debt will be reduced by 10 per cent
– The apprenticeship incentive program ‘Tools for Your Trade’ will be scrapped from July 1, 2014 to save $915 million over the next four years

Health:
– Introduction of $7 co-payment for GP visits for the first 10 visits per year, with only concession card holders and children under 16 to be exempt from fee after the tenth visit
– Patients to pay $5 for PBS medicines, 80c for concession card holders
– Hospital funding agreements with the states and territories made under the Rudd government will be wound back from 2017 onwards for a saving of $50 billion over eight years
– Hospitals will be able to charge patients for emergency room visits that only require a GP visit
– The Medicare benefits schedule, income thresholds for the Medicare levy surcharge and the private health insurance rebate will all be frozen for two years from July this year for a saving of $1.7 billion over the next five years
– Mental health services will be cut by $53 million, public dental services will be cut by $390 million, and the National Health Preventive Agency will be abolished for a saving of $6.4 million

Unemployment:
– Age of eligibility for Newstart to be raised from 22 to 25; school leavers (unemployed youth under 30) will have to wait six months to be eligible for Youth Allowance, whereas people on Newstart under 30 will only be eligible for unemployment benefits for six months for every 12 months unemployed
– From July 2014, unemployed youth will have to work for 15 hours per week on the dole scheme while receiving benefits, which will be increased to 25 hours per week from July 2015; the expected cost is $14.9 million
– Those who refuse work will lose payments for eight weeks, with only one chance given to waive this penalty through additional activities or proving financial hardship; expected savings are $20.9 million over the next four years

Families:
– The cut-off for the Family Tax Benefit B to be reduced from $150,000 to $100,000 and will be cut off for families where the youngest child is 6 or older
– All family benefits to remain on hold until 2016-2017
– School Kids Bonus will be scrapped
– Indexation of fuel price excise to inflation every six months, expected to raise $2.2 billion

Senior Citizens:
– The pension age will be raised to 70 for Australians born after 1958
– Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders will lose the Seniors supplement, which is $876.20 per year for singles and $1320.80 per year for couples
– It will become much harder for seniors to qualify for Seniors Health Card
– Support to state and territory based seniors’ concessions to be cut by $1.3 billion
– It will also become much harder to qualify for the disability pension, with a new focus of reintegrating those under 35 years of age back into the work force if capable of doing so

Public Service:
– 16,500 public servants to lose their jobs, with the Australian Taxation Office to take the biggest hit
– Around 70 government agencies will be scrapped
– Efficiency dividend will be increased by 0.25 per cent
– The Government will look into privatisation of Defence Housing Australia and the National Mint
– One year pay freeze for MPs, and the Life Gold Pass for ex-MPs will be wound back and eventually abolished
– Local councils funding to be cut by almost $1 billion over the next four years
– The Australian Federal Police is expected to find savings of $11.7 million and hand back $42.5 million left over from the recruitment drive started five years ago
– The Australian Research Council to be cut by $75 million over the next four years

Environment:
– $2.55 billion will be allotted to the Direct Action carbon reduction scheme over the 10 years
– $525 million to be spent on ‘green army’, $40 million for protection of the Great Barrier Reef, and $2.1 million for solar projects
– The Australian Renewable Energy Agency will be axed to save $1.3 billion

High Income Earners:
– Debt Levy of 2% for incomes greater than $180,000 for three years, expected to hit around 400,000 people and raise $3.1b
– Reduce maximum amount payable by the Paid Parental Leave scheme to $50,000 for those earning $100,000

Public Broadcasting:
– The ABC and SBS will lose 1% of annual funding over the next 4 years for a saving of $43.5 million
– $10.6m will be given to ABC to break its contracts for the Australia Network, for a saving of $196.8 million over the next four years

Infrastructure:
– $11.6 billion funding for new projects
– Part of the funding to be determined by asset recycling scheme, where the Government will contribute 15 per cent of the value of any state or territory assets that are sold into new projects; also to be funded through the Building Australia Fund
– Combined with state and private sector funding, total funding for infrastructure projects will be around $125 billion by 2019-2020
– Government to keep $35 billion in funding already promised by previous Labor governments

Mining:
– $100 million will be spent over the next four years for minerals exploration projects
– No increase in diesel fuel excise or cuts to diesel fuel rebate
– Abolition of the Minerals Resource Rent Tax is expected to save $3.4 billion

Other:
– Defence spending to increase by the planned 2 per cent of GDP per year
– Foreign aid to be cut by $7.5 billion over the next five years
– Continue funding for School Chaplaincy Scheme by $245 million over the next four years
– Company tax rate will be cut by 1.5 per cent for around 800,000 businesses, but the rate will also increase of 1.5 per cent for top 3000 companies
– Border protection is expected to cost $711 million over the next six years, “stopping the boats” is expected to save $2.5 billion over the next five years, and the closing of nine onshore detention centres is expected to yield a saving of $283.3 million over the next four years
– Indigenous programs will be cut by $500 million over the next five years
– The Government will contribute $89.9 million for the search for flight MH370
– Extra $1b for ballet students boarding accommodation

Kemal Atlay

The author Kemal Atlay

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