Retirees, small business, lower-middle income families … what should you factor in from the federal budget?
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s 2022-23 budget has the government spending big on defence and state-based infrastructure. Some key features were announced in the lead-up to Tuesday, but there was some surprise spending in areas such as support services for women and small businesses.
It’s easy to get bogged down in the numbers and politics of it all, but the key question for many people is “how does the budget directly affect me?“.
What’s the takeout for lower-middle income families?
The rising cost of living has played a big part in politics over the past couple of months, particularly as the price of fuel and household shopping skyrocketed. But the budget delivered on some pre-made promises in the form of tax offsets and a cut to the fuel excise.
The tax offset will mean those who earn less than $126,000 a year can access a one-off $420 payment at tax time on top of up to $1080 that is normally available to them. This means lower-to-middle income households will be entitled to an offset of up to $1500 for singles and up to $3000 for couples, from July 1.
The fuel excise, a tax on petrol, will also be halved for the next six months to 22.1 cents a litre so the price of a 50-litre tank of petrol will fall by $11. The Treasurer says this means a family with two cars who fill up once a week could save up to $700 in the next six months.
And the government has doubled the number of first-home buyers eligible for the Home Guarantee Scheme to 50,000 places per year. Under the scheme, only a 5 per cent deposit is needed. Ten thousand of those places will be set aside for people wanting to build or buy brand-new homes. The remaining 5000 places will be for single parents, and the deposit required from them will be just 2 per cent. The scheme means that first-home buyers won’t need to spend tens of thousands of dollars on lenders mortgage insurance, which is usually required if a person’s deposit is less than 20 per cent.
Lastly, paid parental leave has been boosted by an extra two weeks to 20, allowing working families to have more flexibility with how they use that leave – couples will be able to split it to suit their work and lifestyles.
How does the budget affect retirees?
A one-off $250 cost-of-living payment will be made in April to 6 million pensioners and veterans as well as concession cardholders, job seekers and some self-funded retirees to give those groups immediate relief from the pressures of rising costs of living.
On top of this, there will be a further extension of temporary measures that allow retirees to withdraw half the normal minimum amount from their superannuation funds. This will mean they won’t get taxed for leaving more money in their super fund.
What about young people?
There is spending to get both unemployed youth from disadvantaged backgrounds and apprentices into jobs through the government’s Reboot program and apprenticeship incentive schemes. Young job seekers or concession cardholders could also be eligible for the one-off $250 cash payment, and benefit from the fuel excise reduction and tax offset for low-middle income tax offset. Meanwhile, on climate, the government has backed some cleaner technologies but offers little funding dedicated to rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
What’s in it for women?
In the lead-up to the budget, the government had already unveiled a $58-million initiative for women suffering from endometriosis, which includes opening specialised clinics for the treatment of the disorder. The four-year project would dedicate $16.4 million to establish two clinics in each state and territory to make treatment more accessible.
A large amount of the budget has been set aside to tackle violence against women and girls: $1.3 billion will go to funding frontline services, emergency accommodation and access to legal advice. The Treasurer commented that too many women were killed by their current or former partner.
And $81 million was pledged for pre-pregnancy screening to give people access to genetic testing for the three most common genetic disorders: cystic fibrosis, spinal muscular atrophy and fragile X syndrome. Another $23 million will be set aside for stillbirth and miscarriage support services and autopsies.
What if you’re looking for work, or are a small business?
The government announced a $46.8-million reboot scheme aimed at getting 15- to 24-year-olds into the workforce. It will target vulnerable people who have had a history of drugs, abuse or who’ve come from broken homes.
A further $365 million was set aside for the Australian Apprenticeships Incentive Scheme, which will supplement an extra 35,000 apprenticeship wages. New apprentices will receive $5000 cash payments over two years and employers will be subsidised 10 per cent for the first two years of apprenticeships and 5 per cent for the third year.
Small businesses will be encouraged to upskill and train their employees and invest in new technologies. For every $100 they spend on training employees they will be able to claim a $120 tax deduction, as long as the training is conducted externally. The same deduction will apply to small businesses that embrace digital technology.
What else has been added to healthcare?
A $475-million subsidy was introduced for cystic fibrosis drug Trikafta, saving about 19,000 Australians a combined $250,000 annually. Similarly, breast cancer medication Trodelvy has been listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, which will give thousands of women access to treatment without costing them thousands of dollars.
Of the $547 million allocated to the national mental health and suicide prevention plan over five years from 2021-22, $303.2 million is new funding after the pandemic and lockdowns saw more Australian’s suffering from poorer mental health.
What will the budget do for aged care?
The aged care sector was hit hard by the pandemic, and the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety recommended the government dedicate more resources to caring for older and more vulnerable Australians.
To prevent aged care sectors falling victim to a new wave of COVID-19 this winter, $458 million will be spent directly managing the virus through vaccinations, masks and rapid antigen tests, while more than $345 million will help embed pharmacy services within aged care facilities.
Additionally, of the $468.3 million over five years from 2021-22 for the next stage of the government’s aged care royal commission response, $122.6 million is new funding.
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