The Federal Budget: What’s It All About?

PUBLISHED ON 23/5/13 ON HITZ247

After the federal budget was announced a few days ago, many people have been outraged since the details were released. I never really have paid much attention to such things in the past, but now nearly finishing the end of my degree and entering the “real world” at the end of the year I thought it was about time I had a look!

No More Baby Bonus?

The Baby Bonus will be abolished in nine months’ time, so women who fall pregnant from this week onwards will no longer benefit from the $5,000 Baby Bonus. From March 1, the Baby Bonus will be replaced with a lower payment of $2,000 for first-born babies and $1,000 for subsequent children. The federal government estimates 48,000 families who would have expected the Baby Bonus next year will miss out. Treasurer Wayne Swan said the Baby Bonus was “not sustainable”. “We understand there’ll be some people unhappy about this decision,” he said, “but at the end of the day decisions had to be made about who needs the payment. The payment had been increasing dramatically and is not sustainable in its current form.” The change will save taxpayers $1.1bn over five years. Being a student at this present point in time, I believe the Baby Bonus funding can be spent on much better things, however it has meant the increase of the Family Tax Benefit.

So really will it still be saving taxpayers’ dollars?

School funding:

As of January 1 2014, schools will be receiving more funding, with primary schools getting $9,271 per child and high schools receiving $12,193 per child. I do believe this was an important addition, as I myself have been through the school system and am currently involved in higher education. I think that extra funding at schools will further encourage people to go to university, and in turn reduce the unemployment rates.

Childcare:

The government has introduced a new maximum amount for the Child Care Rebate at $7,500 a year until June 30, 2017. I believe this will provide parents with assistance in returning to work after giving birth, as many of the issues with going back to work can sometimes relate to the ridiculous daily child-care rates.

Medical Supplements:

It was announced that an extra $29.6 million would be provided to support the dispensing of chemotherapy medicines in 2012-13 and 2013-14. Overall, the Budget provides $226 million to improve cancer prevention, detection, and research, and provide better patient care and support. The government will introduce new measures, including a new Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre, funding for bone marrow transplants and for the Youth Cancer Network program run by CanTeen, and money to improve the treatment for people affected by lung cancer. The Government will also expand the age range for the BreastScreen Australia and introduce more bowel cancer screening. This will help those who are suffering from horrible cancer experiences. I do believe this was a very sound investment by the government, as I know so many people affected by cancer.

Now what about us, the students:

The budget focus was placed upon post-grad degrees. The government will spend $97 million from 2014 to 2017 for additional Commonwealth-supported sub-bachelor and postgraduate places. That’s perfect if you’re looking to further your skills.

Undergraduates not so lucky…

The government has scrapped the Student Start-up Scholarship from next year, instead offering loans for Youth Allowance, Austudy or ABSTUDY, meaning you will have to pay the money back. For those of you who never were eligible to receive the Student Start-up Scholarship, you will remain indifferent. The 10 per cent HECS-HELP up-front payment discount has also been abolished. I do believe this, it is ridiculous!!! At the time 10 per cent may not seem like much but it can often be up to $500 dollars, and over an average four-year course all the discounts add up! The $500 can sometimes come close to the cost of an entire subject unit.

Apprentices, apprentices, apprentices times 4,000:

The government will provide $50.6 million of grants to peak industry bodies and large employment bodies to develop and implement training programs for approximately 4,000 apprentices, over a four-year period. I do think this was a very encouraging move by the government, as university is not for everyone, but sometimes people feel as if there is no alternative and end up enrolling in a university course which they only go to for 6 months. They are then left with HECS loans and a half-finished degree. Plus, in society we don’t only need doctors, but builders who will build the hospital the doctors will work in!

The federal budget is trying to address trade shortages and encourage those who aren’t necessarily scholastically minded into another option!

We may not have to put up with as much tobacco smoke in the city of Melbourne!

The government will raise the price of a pack of cigarettes by 7 cents starting from 2014. That may not seem like much, but since the average smoker goes through one pack a day, that works out to be an extra $.50 a week, or $26.00 a year. The pack of cigarettes needs to be raised even more! A measly $0.07 isn’t going to affect the number of smokers, or the number of people admitted to hospital facilities for smoking related illnesses.

Has the federal budget done well or are there still some places they can improve on? Why not ask us, the Australian public in a national referendum where we believe our taxpayer dollars should be spent?

I certainly don’t want my $1,500 that gets deducted at tax time to go towards hospital facilities for those who choose to rot away their lungs. I would prefer it to be spent on cancer research, or go towards the improvement of an individual’s schooling experience!

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One thought on “The Federal Budget: What’s It All About?

  1. Good Piece, albeit with a somewhat obvious bias to self-interest, but since it is your blog and you have been writing from a youth perspective that is understandable 😉

    With the tax on cigarettes however ( i’m a non-smoker and think smokers are really dumb/suicidal) don’t forget that 7 cents is on top of the massive tax increases over the last 30 or more years on cigarettes/tobacco. The total tax i believe is much more than half the cost of a packet. ( i.e. tax is over 100% of the actual cost of product.

    Also the cigarette lobby is still very powerful and the current government can ill afford making further enemies at the moment 😉

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