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What you need to know about the 2014 budget

If one thing is clear from the 2014 Budget, it's that Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his government have broken their promises on health, education, pensions and public broadcasting.

Let's cut the crap: read on for the simple, no-nonsense budget review in just a few minutes.

What about health and science?

  • Cuts to health and hospital funding total $50 billion over the next decade 1
  • A co-payment of $7 will be introduced for visiting a GP. Bulk-billed services, previously free, will become a thing of the past. For concessional patients and children, the contribution will be only for the first ten services each year. 2a; 2b
  • Federal government funding for hospitals, via the states and territories, will be cut
  • $20 billion more will be given to the Medical Research Future Fund. This will be in part funded by payments made by the GP visits by the sick, via Medicare co-payments.
  • From January, pharmaceutical benefits scheme medicines will cost $5 more for the average patient3.

What about education and students?

  • More students are likely to be priced out of higher education. Public funding for university courses to be cut by 20%, and universities will set their own tuition fees without a cap. Graduates will be forced to pay off their loans quicker, and with higher interest rates.4
  • Angelo Gavrielatos, president of the Australian Education Union, says "100,000 students with a disability will not get any funding whatsoever as a result of tonight's budget"5

What about people with a disability?

  • People on the Disability Support Pension will have their funds more heavily regulated. All DSP recipients under 35 will be reassessed. DSP recipients will only be able to leave Australia for up to four weeks each year without financial penalty; and will be subject to stringent employment regulations.
  • There are conflicting reports on the NDIS - possibility that the NDIS will be scaled back.6
  • Funding for the ABC's "Ramp Up" service has been discontinued.

What about science?

  • $111 million will be cut from the CSIRO over the forward estimates.
  • Cuts are slated for the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, the Australian Institute for Marine Science and the Australian Research Council.

What about climate change?

  • The Clean Technology Innovation Program has been axed.
  • The "Direct Action Plan" will cost $1.1 billion in the first four years. There remains no guarantee that this will reduce emissions by 5% by 2020.

What about public broadcasting?

  • A 1% efficiency dividend has been imposed upon the ABC - equivalent to $43.5m per year. Australia Network, the international broadcast arm of the ABC, has been cut. Total cuts to the ABC and SBS come to 2.80%.

What about families?

  • Single parents and sole earner families will be hit by the abolished Family Tax Benefit B from families whose youngest child has turned 6; and the income threshold will be reduced to $100,000.
  • Paid parental leave and associated 1.5 per cent company tax rate cut are are not clarified. 7

What about pensions?

  • For people born after 1966, the pension age will be raising to 70 by July 2035.
  • Pensioners can currently earn $46,600 per year from their assets and claim the pension; this will be reduced to $30,000.

What about employment and income tax?

  • Young people will not be able to claim Newstart until the age of 25. Youth Allowance and Newstart Payments will be frozen for three years.8
  • People who earn more than $180,000 per year will pay a 2% decifit levy. It will run from July 1, 2014 until June 30, 2017 and raise $3.1 billion over the forward estimates. The levy will affect about 400,000 taxpayers in 2014-15.

What about Indigenous funding?

  • A $500 million cut to indigenous programs over five years 12
  • The National Congress of First Peoples funding will be cancelled. The Torres Strait Regional Authority will have its funding reduced.13

What else?

  • The biggest cut in the budget is the $7.9 billion dollars in cuts to foreign aid over 5 years.9
  • Relief for big business: the company tax rate will be cut from 30% to 28.5%.
  • Cuts of nearly $1 billion to local councils over four years11


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