2 Jul 2014

Australia after the 1st of July

Just the facts
Pensioner concessions slashed
The Pensioner Concession Card currently entitles those eligible to cheaper medications and discounts on rates, utility bills, car registration, public transport fares and more.
As of July 1, the Commonwealth Government will no longer contribute to this scheme – which amounts to a funding cut of $1.3 billion over the next four years.
The states and territories are yet to respond to this budget measure. If they refuse to pick up the slack, thousands of pensioners will be charged extra for a whole slew of essential services.

Aged care

Those entering a nursing home from July 1 will have their assets included in calculating the fees payable for living expenses and care.
High and low-care services will also be able to charge their residents an accommodation payment, which replaces the up-front bond. Residents will be able to choose this accommodation payment as a lump sum or a daily payment.
On top of the basic daily care fee, aged care residents might have to pay a means-test fee of up to $25,000 per year, based on income and assets. This payment will max out at a lifetime amount of $60,000.

Home care

Older Australians in need of home care will pay more if they have an income of $43,186 or more.
Those earning above the threshold will now be charged an annual income-tested fee of up to $10,000 per year (at a maximum of $60,000 over a lifetime).
Part pensioners will pay no more than $5000 a year, and those on a full pension will be exempt.

Medicare levy increase

The Medicare levy will increase by half a percentage point from 1.5 to two per cent from Tuesday.
This is to fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme, which is being trialed for the first time in areas of Western Australia, Northern Territory and the ACT, and expanding in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.

Work for the dole

Work for the dole is also being expanded, which means those on unemployment benefits will have less time to search for work.
This may disadvantage some unemployed Australians, as the additional payment to cover the costs of getting to and from work is only $20.80. Catching the train or buying work clothes could easily put them behind.

Tradies lose out

Some support payments for tradies will be replaced by debts as of July 1.
Apprentices will no longer be able to access Tools For Your Trade payments. Instead, they may be eligible for trade support loans.

Deficit levy

High-income earners will be hit by a “temporary tax levy". 

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