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Federal budget 2019: Here's how it affects you

Lucy Dean and Jessica Yun
2019 Federal Budget: What it means for you. Source: AAP/Getty Images
2019 Federal Budget: What it means for you. Source: AAP/Getty Images

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has pulled a $7.1 billion surplus out of the bag, promising – in his words – that “Australia is back in the black”.

It’s clear that this budget is one for the masses with sweeping tax cuts, massive infrastructure plans and pensioner sweeteners.

Here’s how Frydenberg’s plans for spending will affect you:

If you earn between $37,000 to $126,000…

Taxpayers with an income between $48,000 and $90,000 – around 4.5 million Australians – will receive a tax relief payment of $1,080 after tax returns are filed. Another 5.5 million Australians with taxable incomes outside of that bracket will also receive tax relief.

If you’re earning between $37,001 and $47,999, your tax relief will scale from $255 to $1,080. If you’re earning less than that, you’ll receive a maximum benefit of $255.

And if you’re earning $90,001 to $126,001, your tax relief will taper from $1,080 to $0.

If you’re an older Australian…

You’ll get better quality and better access to aged care services thanks to $724.8 million that has been dedicated across five years from 2018-19.

That’s 10,000 extra home care packages, another 13,500 residential care places and $320 million in subsidies for residential aged care.

A new national hotline for Australia’s seniors, 1800ELDERHELP will also be established with $18 million.

If you’re 65 or 66 years old…

You can put more into your superannuation. If you’re an Australian who is 65 or 66, you’ll be able to make voluntary superannuation contributions without needing to meet the work test. You’ll also be able to make up to three years of non-concessional contributions.

And if you’re up age 74, you’ll be able to receive spouse contributions.

What does that mean? Currently, Australians aged 65 to 74 can only make voluntary contributions if they work at least 40 hours in a 30 day period, and those aged 70 and over can’t receive contributions from their spouse. These changes align the work test with the eligibility age for the Age Pension (67 from 1 July 2023). And lifting the age limit for spousal contributions will just help older Australians save more.

If you’re a welfare recipient…

Australian pensioners, carers, disability support pensioners, single parents, war widows and veterans will receive a one-off Energy Assistance Payment. If you’re single, you’ll get $75; if you’re in a couple you’ll get $125. This payment will land this financial year.

It’ll set the budget back $284.4 million over the two years from 2018-19.

But that money will be recouped through changes to the way income is assessed for social security payments, with the Government planning to save $2.1 billion over five years with this measure. From 1 July 2020, Single Touch Payroll will be used to monitor recipients’ income, “greatly reducing” the likelihood of recipients receiving more than they are entitled to.

If you’re a motorist…

This is the big one. Frydenberg pledged to have “cranes, hard hats and heavy machinery… seen across the country” with a $100 billion infrastructure plan designed to ease congestion and move traffic along.

Of this, $4 billion will go into the Urban Congestion Fund aimed at cutting transport times. $500 million of this will go towards improving car parks near public transport hubs, in an effort to encourage more Australians to use public transport.

Efforts to build safer roads around the country will receive a $2.2 billion push, targeted at safety issues in urban and regional areas. North Queensland will receive $730 million for its roads, while Western Australia will receive $1.6 billion for roads and rail.

If you need the Cashless Debit Card…

You’ll be able to access it if you live in the Northern Territory or Queensland. The Government is putting $129 million into extending the cashless welfare card to all of the Northern Territory and to Cape York communities.

If you’re an immigrant…

You might find it harder to settle in Australia. The Government plans to reduce the permanent migrant ceiling by 40,000 for four years in a row – a cumulative loss of 120,000 places in the four years from 2019-20.

That means the annual cap will fall from 190,000 to 160,000.

The Government is also pumping $64.2 million into “social cohesion measures” designed to help migrants settle in Australia. Funding will be used to foster national community hubs, deliver local sport grants, community language programs and diversity and understanding initiatives.

If you have cancer…

The Government had pledged $496 million to cancer research, services and facilities in Victoria. Sydney will also become home to the first children’s cancer centre in Australia. Diagnostic imaging for breast cancer will also be added to the Medicare Benefits Schedule, saving patients up to $1,500 per scan.

If you have Leukaemia…

Treating it will now get cheaper. Besponsa, a medicine for people with acute Leukaemia will fall in price from $120,000 a course to $40 a script for general patients and $6.50 for concession card holders.

If you’re a woman considering a career in science…

Good news: the Government will put $3.4 million over four years towards improving gender equality in the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) fields. Money will be directed towards education and careers training.

If you’re a student…

Schools will see funding shoot up by 63 per cent, with an injection of $300 billion for public, independent and Catholic schools. This money will be used to improve libraries, play equipment and classrooms.

If you’re a bit too old for play equipment, the Government is committing $535 million to Australia’s vocational education and training (VET) sector. This will go towards creating 80,000 apprenticeships in areas like plumbing and carpentry and boosting awareness of VET careers through a National Careers Institute and Ambassador. A partnership program between schools, employers and the sector will also aim to funnel students into the sector.

Employers will also receive a $4,000 incentive payment while apprentices will receive $2,000.

If you’re an Indigenous Australian…

You’ve got $37.5 million coming your way to support housing for remote Indigenous Communities. The Government also pledged $5 million to tackle suicide rates in the young Indigenous community.

Indigenous kids will also receive a $200 million Indigenous Youth Education Package, which will fund scholarships, mentoring and support programs.

If you’re a woman in a violent relationship…

$328 million in funding will go towards combatting violence against women and children. This entails $68.3 million for prevention strategies, another $78.4 million for safe spaces for victims, and $82.2 million to improve the services tasked with keeping women and children safe.

National hotline 1800RESPECT will receive a boost of $64 million, and $35 million will be funnelled towards support and prevention strategies targeted at Indigenous Communities.

If you own a firm in a regional area…

The $1 billion Roads of Strategic importance plan hopes to help you connect with local and international markets through improved freight corridors.

If you’re a farmer in North Queensland…

It’s been a difficult year, but the government is planning to provide $232 million to help North Queenslanders affected by the floods.

Those struggling to rebuild damaged infrastructure and replace livestock and crops will be able to apply for a grant from a $300 million pool, while an Emergency Response Fund of $3.9 billion will also be provided ongoing support.

If you’re a farmer affected by drought…

You’ll be able to access a concessional loan from the Government. $6.3 billion will go towards this, while regional and rural mental health services will also receive $29 million in increased funding.

Hopefully it won’t happen again, but that’s unlikely. In a bid to address this, the Coalition Government plans to invest $3.9 billion in a fund which will mitigate the effect of future droughts through water infrastructure and drought resilience practices.

If you’re a small business owner….

Small businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million (or the “engine-room of the economy”, as Frydenberg put it) will see their tax rate cut to 25 per cent by 2021-22, after first declining to 27.5 per cent in 2019-20.

And from tonight (2 April 2019), the instant asset write-off threshold will be increased from $25,000 to $30,000, while businesses with a turnover of up to $50 million will be able to access the benefit for the first time. But this policy will only apply until 30 June 2020.

If you’re interested in property…

No news is good news?

Speaking to press, Frydenberg said lower dwelling investment was a major concern. And, he added, “This is the worst possible time for a housing tax,” alluding to Labor’s controversial plan to reduce negative gearing benefits.

But if you’re interested in property in the Northern Territory…

It’s a different story. The Government is putting $550 million towards housing in the territory with the aim of tackling overcrowding.

It comes after a federal freeze on funding, with the Coalition Government arguing Indigenous Australians should have had a formal say on how the money was spent.

If you’re a yellow crazy ant…

Your days are numbered, buddy.

The Government is pledging $9.2 million towards controlling yellow crazy ants in Queensland. This was part of a 2016 election commitment.

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