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‘Once-in-a-century’: What Australia’s budget deficit means for you

·4-min read
‘Eye-watering’ budget blowout: What it means for you. Source Getty
‘Eye-watering’ budget blowout: What it means for you. Source Getty

Australia’s budget will be in the red by $85.8 billion (4.3 per cent of GDP) for 2019-20 and $184.5 billion (9.7 per cent of GDP) in 2020-21 - the highest deficit since World War II - Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg revealed on Thursday.

“Australia is experiencing a health and economic crisis like nothing we have seen in the last 100 years,” Frydenberg said.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has revealed this represents a deterioration of $281.4 billion over these two years since the 2019-20 mid-year economic review.

The news follows the country’s worst day of coronavirus infections, with Victoria recording 484 new cases, and warning numbers could rise further.

Here’s what this means for you.

If you receive JobKeeper….

The JobKeeper subsidy has been extended until March, but at a reduced rate, the Prime Minister revealed on Tuesday.

If you are a full-time eligible employee, from 28 September until 3 January, you will receive $1,200 per fortnight. If you are an eligible part-time or casual employee working less than 20 hours per week, you will receive $750 per fortnight.

These amounts will be reduced from 4 January to 28 March to $1,000 per fortnight for full-time employees and $650 per fortnight for part-time employees.

If you are on JobSeeker…

The Coronavirus Supplement of $550 currently boosting JobSeeker to $1165.70 per fortnight will be extended until December, but will be slashed to $250.

That will bring the total fortnightly JobSeeker payments to $815.70 per fortnight.

The Government is however increasing the income-free threshold to $300, meaning recipients can earn $300 without it affecting their payments.

Mutual obligations will also be reintroduced from 4 August, with recipients required to apply for four jobs per month. If they refuse a job, they will be penalised.

If you’re a small business owner…

The government is supporting small and medium-sized businesses, and not-for-profit employers, by providing temporary cash flow support of between $20,000 and $100,000 for the March to September 2020 reporting periods.

As of 16 July, over 750,000 businesses had already received over $16 billion in cash flow support.

The government is also increasing the instant asset write-off threshold to $150,000 (up from $30,000) and expanding access to include businesses with turnover of less than $500 million.

If you’re looking for work…

The government introduced a $2 billion JobTrainer package, which established a $1 billion JobTrainer fund and extended the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees wage subsidy.

This wage subsidy provides employers with 50 per cent of the apprentice or trainee’s wages for nine months, and up to $7,000 per quarter.

The government also created a Job-ready Graduates package, to increase places at Australian universities for domestic students.

As a result, a further 39,000 places are to be created by 2023, growing to 100,000 in the next decade.

If you want to pull out your super early…

The government is extending the application period for early release of superannuation from 24 September to 31 December.

That means eligible Australian and New Zealand citizens and permanent residents can access a further $10,000 from their superannuation until 31 December.

If you’re in the arts and entertainment industry…

The government has committed $250 million to support production and employment in the arts and entertainment sectors.

The package includes $75 million in new grants to put on festivals, concerts, tours and events, and $35 million to assist Australian Council-funded arts businesses.

A further $400 million has also been committed over seven years from 2020-21 to attract overseas film and television production.

If you’re a home buyer…

You’ve likely heard of the HomeBuilder scheme already - the $680 million package that would see Australians pledging to build a new home or renovate their own receive a $25,000 cash injection.

The package is touted to support 140,000 direct jobs and around 1 million related jobs.

If you live in regional Australia…

The government has established a $1 billion Covid-19 Relief and Recovery fund to provide support to the regions and communities most affected by the economic fallout of the pandemic.

That includes $110 million to reduce the cost of air freight, $94.6 million in funding for regional zoos and aquariums, and $36.3 million in 2020-21 to provide support to agricultural show societies to meet costs incurred through shows cancelled at short notice.

If you are recovering from the bushfires...

The government has committed $2 billion to a National Bushfire Recovery Fund, with grants of up to $75,000 for primary producers and up to $50,000 for small businesses.

The ailing tourism industry received a $76 million recovery package, and local communities received $448.5 million as part of the Regional Bushfire Recovery and Development Program.

Also read: Budget update: Winners and losers

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