NOTE: The subject matter of this post is political and includes my opinions.
Last night was Budget night here in Australia. It was the first budget delivered since the election of the new government last year. There have been so many leaks and hints over the past weeks that people may have been forgiven for thinking that they had heard it all by the time last night rolled around. How wrong we were!
The governement have been hammering the message about the dire straits of the debt and deficit in this country and how everyone has to share the pain. From my assessment of the budget there is pain, YES (lots of it)………….shared, perhaps……………..equitably shared, NO!
I wanted to write this post last night but I was simply too angry to even contemplate putting my thoughts together in a coherent manner.
I would like to point out that my anger is not about what I or my family will lose personally, both now and in the future. I am angry that the sick, disenfranchised, elderly and those least able to defend themselves have been viciously attacked whilst big business have emerged virtually unscathed.
Here is a list of some of the measures announced – it is not complete and the time frames for introduction vary. I and most others do not have all of the details but I understand enough to be very, very unhappy.
As far as I can see I can expect to pay more for fuel with the reintroduction of the fuel excise to be indexed twice-yearly. This will also affect the cost of everything, including food that is subject to transport costs. I will have to make a co-payment to visit the doctor, have a blood test or an x-ray. Prescription medicines will rise in cost. The eligibility for an aged pension will rise to 70 years.
Our income is such that we are not liable for the debt levy which is being applied to all those earning in excess of $180,000 per annum. However, we have sufficient room in our own budget to accommodate the increase in costs that I outlined in the previous paragraph. We plan to have adequate superannuation to fund our own retirement without having to work until we are eligible to access the aged pension.
So, I should be pretty happy, right? I am not because I fear for others in our society who are not so fortunate. Check out this graphic for the ‘Winner and Losers’.
Here are a few examples of some of the negative changes. There are far to many to list.
No unemployment benefits for 6 months if you are under 30
Changes from Newstart to Youth Allowance for 22 – 24 year olds
Eligibility for aged pension to increase to 70
Superannuation Guarantee Levy to be frozen at 9.5% until at least 2018
First Home Savers Account to be scrapped
Schoolkids Bonus abolished
$7 co-payment for Dr visits and also pathology and radiology
Funding slashed to CSIRO, ANTSO, ABC and SBS
Abolish PHIO (Private Health Insurance Ombudsman)
Increase in cost of prescription medications on PBS ($0.80 for concession card holders and $5.00 extra for the rest of us)
Abolish the Australian Renewable Energy Agency
Cut funding to the National Anti-Tobacco Campaign
Gonski school funding model disbanded – cuts in education funding
Allowing hospital emergency departments to bill for “GP-type” visits
Cut funding for human rights education
Higher university costs
Here are some of the beneficaries that you may not have heard about yet.
Increased funding for school chaplaincy services
A new icebreaker ship
Funds for Australian Drug Commission
Medical Research Future Fund
$1 million for accommodation for students of Australian National Ballet
A quote I found online:
“No progress on tax avoidance, no sign that Australia will responsibly lead the G20, no reform of expensive concessions to the rich: this budget is a massive moral failure”
And finally, absolutely nothing positive for the environment and the effects of a changing climate but that is hardly surprising since Mr Abbott does not believe it exists.