This year’s Budget was lauded as the start to the Government’s re-election campaign, but they forgot to share the talking points with Party elders like Dr John Hewson and former Howard Government Treasurer, Peter Costello. Both became grinches to Treasurer Scott Morrison’s Santa Claus, taking swipes at his hard work even before Mr Morrison began the Budget speech this evening. Dr Hewson called it the ‘mother of all political budgets’ and predicted an early election. Mr Costello – a mentor to the Treasurer – said he’d be dead before the debt was paid off. Less than helpful. Particularly as both Hewson and Costello are in the ‘Baby Boomer’ demographic the Government hopes will welcome spending on aged care, pension loan schemes and incentives to keep older people at work and in their own homes. Promised tax relief for low income earners came through, as did the problematic corporate tax cuts some business leaders have called a “distraction’’, and which the Senate looks likely to reject.
Business and Tax
- Taxes capped at 23.9 per cent of GDP.
- 37 per cent tax bracket abolished and 32.5 per cent bracket lifted to $90,000.
- Tax rate of 45 per cent on incomes above $200,000.
- Lower tax rates extended to businesses earning up to $50 million.
- The $20,000 instant asset write-off for small businesses extended to 30 June 2019.
- SME Export Hubs will be provided with $20 million.
- $225 million to improve GPS accuracy.
- $29.9 million for AI industry.
- The FinTech sector gets additional funding to promote Australia as a global leader.
Superannuation and Retirement
- ATO will be given “capacity to reunite Australians with their lost and inactive superannuation.”
- Fees on superannuation accounts of less than $6,000 will be capped at three per cent and exit fees will be abolished.
- $1.6 billion for 14,000 extra in-home care places.
- $146 million for aged care services in rural, regional and remote regions.
- $83 million for boosted mental health services in aged care facilities.
- Wage subsidies of up to $10,000 for employers who hire older workers.
- Australian Financial Complaints Authority for small business dispute resolution.
- Australians to be given control over their data.
- Additional $264.5 million to ensure individuals pay correct tax and chase tax debts.
- Tax Practitioner Board gets additional funding for professional standards compliance.
- $10,000 cash limit to cut the ‘black economy’ and ensure faster transition to digital payments.
- A Data Commissioner to drive cultural change within government agencies.
Infrastructure & Regional Development
- $24.5 billion in infrastructure funding.
- $102 million for biosecurity and $26.6 million on pest and weed control.
- $500 million to protect future of Great Barrier Reef.
- Increase in funding for Lifeline and other mental health support services, including $100 million for mental health services to the elderly.
- $39.5 million for free whooping cough vaccines for pregnant women
- $1.4 billion for new and amended listings on the PBS, including medicines to treat spinal muscular atrophy, breast cancer, multiple sclerosis and HIV.
- New five year public hospital funding agreement with states
- NDIS will be ‘fully funded’.
Education & Training
- $250 million to the Skilling Australians Fund.
- $17. 7 million in funding for an Entrepreneurship Facilitators program.
- $42.2 million for 1000 places at Regional Study Hubs.
- A Women in Science Ambassador to increase female involvement in STEM.
National Security, Immigration and Border Protection
- “Stopping the boats” mantra is likely to continue into the next election with $62.2 million to “disrupt people smuggling activities”.
- Defence funding back to 2% of GDP by 20/21
- $294 million to upgrade airport security.
- $450 million for Immigration and Centrelink IT upgrades
- First Commonwealth Transnational Serious and Organised Crime Coordinator.
You can read the full list of 2018/19 Budget Papers at: www.budget.gov.au.