Every year I get people ask me for the details of the budget because I’m keen on watching that sort of thing. I get it’s not everyone’s favourite thing, so here are some highlights.
Taken from the ABC website:
- $3.3 billion for DisabilityCare Australia in 2014-15 funded by half a percentage point increase to the Medicare levy. Total investment in scheme $19.3 billion over seven years ($14.3 billion in new money)
- $113 billion in defence funding over the forward estimates, up $10 billion from last year’s budget. Includes $3 billion over nine years to obtain 12 EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft
- New spending of $3 billion over the forward estimates as part of a $24 billion infrastructure package. Includes $3 billion for the Melbourne Metro rail project and $1.8 billion for the WestConnex motorway in Sydney. $400 million will be allocated to Sydney’s F3-M2 link and a further $715 million to Brisbane’s Cross River Rail project
- $9.8 billion in school funding reforms outlined in the Gonski review, over six years from 2014-15
- $300 million on childcare reforms, including establishing a fund to help long daycare providers acquire a highly qualified workforce
- $300 million to support jobseekers, including allowing Newstart recipients to earn more from paid work – up to $100 a fortnight from the current $62 a fortnight, and indexed from July 2015
- $2.2 billion to be invested in the Medicare benefits schedule across five years, with a further $2.2 billion over four years towards the private health insurance rebate
- $226 million on cancer care, including $92.2 million over the forward estimates towards breast cancer screening and pap smears and $18.5 million towards prostate cancer screening
- A trial of $112.4 million towards assisting senior Australians to downsize to a more suitable home without affecting their pension, and $9.9 million to extend the Broadband for Seniors initiative
- $100 million on natural disaster mitigation to reduce insurance premiums
- Almost $100 million for a new farm household allowance to support farmers in hardship
- $64 million on a national anti-gang taskforce comprising 70 members of the AFP and state police
- $42 million for Antarctic climate change research
- Massive revenue write-downs – $170 billion over the last five years. A deficit of $19.4 billion in this current financial year, followed by a $18 billion deficit in 2013-14 and a $10.9 billion deficit in 2014-15 before a projected return to surplus by 2015-16.
- Significant reduction in tax receipts of $60 billion over the forward estimates, attributed to challenging global conditions and the high Australian dollar
- Minerals resources rent tax estimate down from an original forecast of $13.4 billion to $3.3 billion over the forward estimates
- Baby bonus to be abolished from March 1, 2014 and replaced by an increase to Family Tax Benefit Part A – $2,000 for the first child and $1,000 for subsequent children
- FTB-A eligibility rules to be tightened, meaning 28,000 families who would have received the baby bonus will be excluded under the new arrangements
- An additional increase to FTB-A, due in 2015 and worth $2.5 billion over the forward estimates (between $300 and $600 a year for families) has been dumped
- FTB-A eligibility changed for children aged 16 years and over – it will only be paid until the end of the calendar year in which a child completes school, effective from January 1, 2014
- Medicare safety net threshold increased from $1221.90 to $2,000 from January 1, 2015, saving the Government $105.6 million over the forward estimates
- $2.8 billion in tax cuts associated with the carbon trading scheme and due in 2015-16 have been deferred. They would have increased the tax-free threshold from $18,200 to $19,400. People earning up to $80,000 a year would have saved nearly $1.60 a week
- The tax cuts associated with the carbon trading scheme will be deferred until the estimated carbon price reaches $25.40 a tonne – the current projection has dropped to $12.10.
- The research and development tax incentive will only apply to companies with an annual aggregate turnover of less than $20 billion, saving the Government $1.1 billion over the forward estimates
- $500 million over three years cut from the Carbon Capture and Storage Flagships program
- $370 million of funding for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency moved to beyond the forward estimates
- $270 million cut from a program designed to support coal mining jobs
- $2.3 billion in cuts to higher education funding. The 10 per cent discount on paying university fees upfront will be abolished, student start-up scholarships will be converted to loans, and there will be a lower limit on tax deductibility of self-education courses, saving the Government $500 million
- Deductions for work-related education expenses capped at $2,000 from July 1, 2014, saving $514.3 million over the forward estimates.
- As in last year’s budget, the foreign aid increase has been postponed for another year, saving the Government $3 billion over the forward estimates. $375 million of current foreign aid investment will go towards asylum seekers in Australia, a figure which will be capped
- Tax crackdown on big business – including tightening the rules to prevent profit shifting – saving the Government $4.2 billion over the forward estimates
- $900 million in revenue over the forward estimates from changes to superannuation tax arrangements, including taxing earnings of more than $100,000 on superannuation pensions and annuities at 15 per cent instead of them being tax free
- $665 million cut from the teachers bonus over the forward estimates
- $580 million in cuts to the public service over the forward estimates
- $100 million in cuts to solar funding
- The average cost of a basic packet of cigarettes will increase by 7 cents in the first half of 2014.
HERE is an interactive feature to see how the budget will affect you.
And if you want a quick, general video summary, here is a 3 minute one from the government:
And HERE is a less biased 90 second summary.
Here are some of my thoughts:
Mostly, everyone only cares about the budget as it affects them. This is understandable enough, but sometimes we need to think about the greater good. I’m happy to pay my 90c a day to help fund the NDIS. It doesn’t bother me. I’m also happy that the baby bonus has been cut. In our economic climate, it’s a luxury we can’t afford. I realise that it’s very helpful for some, but it’s not necessary for everyone who gets it (people on $150,000 a year don’t need it), and sadly the people who need it most are the least likely to spend it wisely. Yes, that a generalisation, and of course it’s not true of everyone, but the stats support that.
According to our national statistics we have never had it better. Yes, some people are obviously doing it tough, I don’t doubt that, but in terms of our general prosperity, Australians are doing better than they have ever done before. This whole ‘rising cost of living pressure’ is simply untrue. It is felt, but it is not our reality. Our wages are rising faster than our cost of living. As a society we are doing well. Once again, obviously there are people doing it tough and there are areas where we ought to be doing much better in our social economic policy, but general speaking we are rather well off. If people are struggling financially, it’s not always the fault of the government (although sometimes it definitely is).
We could be saving an awful lot of money by processing asylum seekers onshore. We could be saving more money by closing tax loopholes for big business. We could save lots of money by not letting people purposefully lose money on real estate and write it off on tax. There are endless ways to save money and divert funds to those who need it most. Of course there is always room for improvement, but let us remember how lucky we are.
In case you haven’t heard, I’m leaving. Not just Hamilton, I’m leaving Australia.
In the same vein as my 2010 Tajikistan plans (ask me if you’re confused) I’ll be heading over to teach MKs (once again, ask me if you’re confused).
Sorry about the cryptic nature of some of the things I’m saying, but in some countries, some things I say can be problematic and cause trouble for people.
I’m still unsure of all the details, but I’ll be heading overseas in 2014. At this stage it looks like I’ll be going to either Indonesia or Nepal. I’m still working through everything, but I’m really excited about it!
It’ll be very hard to leave, and I’ll miss my family & friends terribly. Seriously. It’s going to be intimidating, but I know it’s going to be amazing. Obviously it’ll be hard, I’m under no delusions about that, but it’ll be worth it.
Part of being human is preferring stability and fearing severe change, but I won’t let that stop me doing what is right.
More details to come…
*I think that’s a good Eeeeeeeeeep!
And this is one of the many reasons why Tony Abbott is no solution to ‘wasteful spending’.
And this is also another reason why I adore David Mitchell.
So why on earth should we have to pay a levy for the NDIS? Isn’t the money I earn mine? Why is it being taken from me to pay for other people’s stuff?
Stella Young Writes:
“Typically, every man and his guide dog has an opinion, including news.com.au’s Matt Young and Claire Porter. “How selfish of me to want to spend money that I’m working hard for on myself! To put clothes on my back, food in my mouth and a few luxuries like a morning coffee,” Matt exclaims.
Do you know what I spent the money I worked hard in 2012 on, Matt?
The clothes on my back, the food in my mouth and the odd morning coffee as well. But I also spent a fair whack of my annual salary replacing my 17-year-old wheelchair.
I live in Victoria where the current maximum funding for a wheelchair is $8,000. My chair cost $22,000, so $14,000 of that came out of my pocket.
No doubt many Australians assume people who need wheelchairs can just have them. Not true.”
This is from Stella’s wonderful article which can be found HERE. I highly recommend giving it a read. It’s a great piece showing what it’s like from the perspective of something who has a disability.
It costs a lot of money to do the things that the rest of us take for granted if you’re disabled. That seems unfair. It’s not my fault they’re disabled, but neither is it theirs. They still need to live in the real world, just like the rest of us. It really boils down to compassion. Do we care? Are we willing to take a 0.5% increase in the medicare levy (yes, only half a percent) so that others can live a fuller life, or are we going to be selfish about it and resent helping others?
I know that I care more about people than money. I’m happy to pay my part.
In an ideal world the government would have more money, there wouldn’t be a global financial crisis (yes, the world is definitely still suffering from this, just ask Greece) and this wouldn’t have to be an issue. But we don’t live in a perfect world and it is an issue.
Instead of whinging about a small increase in a small levy, let’s just help those who need it and be joyous in that.
“The day the child realises that all adults are imperfect, he becomes an adolescent; the day he forgives them, he becomes an adult; the day he forgives himself, he becomes wise”
- Alden Nowlan
Tonight I saw Abby Dobson audition for ‘The Voice’, AND NOT GET THROUGH!!!!
Ok, I need to breathe…
Firstly, let me just say that it was utterly painful to watch the audition. Abby is a wonderfully accomplished, ARIA nominated artist. I saw her [being amazing] at the Port Fairy Folk Festival less than 2 months ago. She was one of the soundtracks to my teenage years. ’Leonardo’s Bride’ was one of my favourite bands growing up. I adored them. If you don’t have their album, get it now! Seriously. Stop reading and go and buy it. Come back when you’re done.
You’ve done it? Great. Let’s keep going then.
The Australian music scene is clearly utter rubbish. This is evidenced by people like Abby Dobson feeling the need to pimp themselves out to ‘The Voice’. If someone as talented, and as accomplished, as Abby can’t forge a career in our music industry then there is something wrong with us [it], not her.
If you are of the confused persuasion (as in not knowing who she is), please enjoy this amazingness:
Oh, and did I mention you should BUY THE ALBUM?!!!
‘The Voice’ is doing a very strange thing this season where they are asking known, talented singers to audition for the show. Brendan Maclean was one of those. He said no. His article on why is brilliant. Give it a read HERE. Seriously. Go read it and come back.
Thanks for coming back!
If you don’t know who Brendan Maclean is, here is one of his awesome songs (mind the one swear word in the song)
I also put some extra harmonies to another song of his (my favourite) if you’re interested.
Abby Dobson was one of those people who was asked to audition this season. I’m convinced she was just as shocked as the rest of us when she didn’t get through.
I mean, COME ON!
Firstly, she’s amazing! Secondly, she was ASKED to audition! And then rejected?! How bafflingly insane! Also, it must have been utterly humiliating for her. Watching her on stage being gracious in her rejection made me actually scream at the tv! The judges were incredibly patronising. She was told that she has a wonderful, unique voice and must keep ‘chasing her dream!’. They had no idea who she was! At the end, Delta said her voice sounded familiar and asked if she would know her from anywhere. When Abby mentioned ‘Leonardo’s Bride’ Delta still needed to know what their hit was! Then she clicked and was like “Oh! It’s our loss! I should have turned my chair!”. I wanted to scream at her! Abby has more experience and talent than half the panel put together and they had the gaul to patronise her?! ARGH!!!!!
Abby has a wonderful career. Not only is she a successful recording artist, she’s currently in an incredible duo called ‘baby et lulu’. Look them up, or better yet, go see a live show. The duo are utterly delightful together. Stunning harmonies!
This is my point.
Abby has a wonderful career. She is talented, recognised, and has a following. She has many recordings, both with bands and as a solo artist. The fact that she still needs to audition for this show to boost her profile says volumes about the Australian music industry.
There are a few ways we can help.
Go and see live Australian music.
Buy Australian music.
DO NOT DOWNLOAD ILLEGALLY!
You are screwing over people who work hard to produce their craft when you do. If you don’t want it, fine, don’t get it. If you want it, then pay for it! It’s $1.69 for a song. What do you pay for a coffee? That’s what I thought. A coffee lasts a short time. Music lasts forever.
Downloading without paying is just the same as stealing. Seriously. It’s NOT a victimless crime, you’re being a [insert expletive here]. This is especially true when we’re talking about Australian musicians. They don’t earn stacks. Even the very successful ones aren’t millionaires. Also, that’s besides the point. If you wouldn’t steal from a poor person, don’t steal from a rich one either. That’s not your call. Morality isn’t dependant on the context. Either you steal or you don’t. You don’t want me stealing something from you, so don’t do it to others.
Do you really know what it takes to make music? It’s not just the time it takes to write a song (this could be hours or months). It’s also the time it takes to teach it to others, to practice, to buy studio time, the pay for the other musicians’ time to play on your track, to pay for people to mix it, to pay for people to produce a CD, to pay for printing, to pay for raw materials, to pay for time, to pay for distribution, the list goes on and on. We’re paying about $18 for album these days. That’s not much. If we all pay, the artists get paid. If only some of us pay then the artists end up getting screwed and having to go on reality tv, which demeans them.
We must do our part so people like Abby Dobson don’t have to stand on a reality tv stage and get criticised like they are nobody.
“Depression is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign that you’ve been trying to be too strong for too long.”
I can’t STAND this saying!
What a ludicrous over simplification of a very complicated problem!
There are endless reasons why people have depression and rarely is it just that someone is trying to be ‘strong’. Certainly this might be a part of the experience of having depression, but it is not the cause.
For some it’s circumstantial, for some it’s biological, for some it’s a whole bunch of things that come together to create depression. The point is that you can’t nail it down in a nice little fluffy saying.
I’m not going to go on and on about this, I just wanted to make the point that these overly simplified, airy fairy sayings drive me insane. I hate that my Facebook feed is often flooded with empty platitudes like this that are utterly meaningless.
Check out http://capril.org for support/information on depression and other mental illness’.