The Federal Budget dropped last night, whispered like a sonnet from between Scott Morrison‘s dry, dry lips, and it’s entirely possible that this fact either: a) entirely passed you by; or b) entered one earhole, whizzed past your atrophied brain, and shot directly out the other earhole. That’s fine! We’re here to dissect the important points for the budget – and how it might affect you.
Let’s cut to the chase: here are the big points you need to know about.
The big point which ScoMo kept returning to throughout his spiel – which is understandable, considering how much people love having money – was the tax cuts. Basically, if you earn up to $90,000 per year, you’ll be paying slightly less tax.
What does this actually look like though? Well, if you earn under $37,000, you’ll have your tax offset by an additional $200 on top of existing offsets. If you’re earning between $37,001 and $47,999, you’ll receive a tapered reduction up to a maximum of $530. If you’re between $48,000 and $90,000, you’ll get that maximum $530 figure.
Morrison says that the eventual goal is to move Australia to a flat tax system, where everyone earning between $41,000 and $200,000 pays the same tax rate, as opposed to the current progressive system in which higher earners are taxed at a higher rate. This will almost certainly result in a loss of revenue for the government, and rich people will absolutely love it! There’s a wonderful reason why it’s curiously only wealthy people who love the idea of a flat tax.
Does this mean less money for the government to pay for essential services? Yes, absolutely! Does it also mean your velcro Stussy wallet will be fatter? Also, yes, baby! Booyah!
The much-loathed Centrelink robodebt program is back
Remember how the government, under the guidance of confirmed evil cyborg Christian Porter, royally fucked up their extremely punitive Centrelink ‘robodebt’ program? Well, they’re giving it another go!
In case you’ve forgotten what it looked like the first time around, the government decided it was going to reclaim a shitload of Centrelink debt from people it said illegitimately received welfare. However, it was a complete disaster for the government: the system was shown to have sent out aggressive letters to people who ended up not owing a debt at all, and it put the onus on vulnerable people to track down payslips up to seven years old to prove they didn’t owe anything.
They’re giving it another crack, with this round targeting former welfare recipients with ‘high value’ debts. They’re also going after people who are already paying back Centrelink debt but are deemed capable of paying back more. The government reckons they’ll scrape back $500 million with this method. As a salve – potentially – they’ve allocated a one-off payment of $50 million to do something about Centrelink’s absolutely terrible waiting times.
Their overwhelming success last time really, really inspires confidence they’ll handle it well this year.
The ABC budget is getting a severe trim
This may come as no surprise considering the fact there are a significant number of people within our Coalition government who wish death upon our national broadcaster, but yes: the ABC‘s budget is being cut.
Basically, the government won’t increase the broadcaster’s funding for three years in what they call an ‘indexation freeze’. Practically, this constitutes a cut of $84 million over that period. ScoMo says this is a way to “ensure the ABC continues to find back-office efficiencies”.
Whether or not this means the Bananas in Pyjamas will be executed live on television is yet to be confirmed.
Cash payments will be more closely scrutinised
Turns out that criminals love to use cash – whodathunkit? The government is targeting tax evasion and money laundering, and will try to combat the so-called ‘black economy’ by banning cash payments above $10,000.
So if you’re inexplicably the type of person to legitimately make huge purchases in the tens of thousands of dollars with cash, your life will be marginally more inconvenient now. But the question remains: why are you doing that? Please tell me why you’re doing that.
A big crackdown on illegal durries
The government has kowtowed to the demands of the industry and is cracking down hard on illegal tobacco products. As you’re probably aware, the tax on ciggies in Australia is really bloody huge – and the government is missing out on some serious dosh thanks to people buying their darts dodgily.
They’re hoping that by making it much harder to source illegal cigs and pouches, they’ll save $3.6 billion. That’s a lot of tobacky.
A bunch of infrastructure projects
Scott Morrison did a very good job of making his budget seem like an absolute bonanza of new infrastructure investment, but most of the stuff he trotted out has basically already been announced, so there’s no huge surprises. That being said, some of these will directly interest you – so here’s some of what’s going down:
- $5.2 billion for road and rail upgrades in Queensland
- $400 million for rail upgrades in Sydney
- $280 million to upgrade Outback roads in the NT
- $5 billion in funding for a Melbourne airport rail link
- $2.1 billion for Western Australian road projects