The Federal Government’s 2014 Australian budget has been released and there are some major changes that people will need to take note of. Some of the modifications will have immediate impacts on people’s finances, while others will have longer term effects, which need to be kept in mind. Some people and households will be affected more heavily than others, so it’s a good idea to estimate and quantify how exactly the changes will affect you and your family.
The Australian budget is expected to result in increases in the prices people pay at the pump for petrol. This is because the government will be increasing the tax that it collects on fuel. These increases are projected to take place two times annually. This change will not hit families hard immediately, but if fuel costs take up a significant portion of your budget, you will need to consider setting aside a larger amount each year for your petrol costs. Or you may eventually look to other ways to consume less fuel, such as by using a more fuel efficient vehicle, organising carpooling, or perhaps relying more on public transportation if that is an option for you.
On the health side, the Australian budget has introduced a co-payment for when people visit their general practitioner. Patients who see their doctor will now generally have to pay $7 for each visit, with a few exceptions. Some types of patients, such as children, will have limits to the total cumulative amount that they will have to pay. It is also important to note that it will now be possible for governments at the State level to levy fees on patients who avail of the services of medical emergency departments. Some families, especially those households with lower incomes will have to bear the brunt of these additional medical costs. This puts even more emphasis on ways to prevent illness, whenever possible. And for those times when kids or parents get sick, families will need to ensure that they have savings or some other form of buffer. This will be important so that there will be funds to dip into in case multiple visits to the doctor are needed.
Going into some of the specifics of the Australian budget, key changes have been made to the Family Tax Benefit Parts A and B. The primary income earner cap for Part B has been reduced by $50,000. If you previously availed of this benefit, it’s a good idea to check if the reduced cap will affect your eligibility moving forward. In addition, the relevant age for the Part B benefit has generally been reduced by around 12 years. This means that many households who would have continued to avail of the benefit under the previous system will no longer benefit from it under the 2014 budget.
These are only some of the major changes introduced by the 2014 Australian budget. There are other modifications which affect other areas such as pensions, unemployment benefits, school fees and more.