With its focus firmly on a May federal election, the Government has delivered a broad range of initiatives as a result of a $7.1 billion surplus. But if Australia’s ever-growing demographic of older Australians was hoping for some love, putting it bluntly – you missed out.
In our Federal Budget 2019 special edition tomorrow, Leon and Janelle explain the key announcements that affect you.
But to tide you over until then, here’s the lowdown.
- YourLifeChoices members tell us repeatedly that their health is their No.1 concern. The Medicare freeze has not been lifted, but the Government is providing $187 million to increase patient rebates for 119 GP service items on the Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS) from 1 July 2019. Rebates for MRIs, X-rays and ultrasounds will be increased. Health checks for heart disease, Australia’s No.1 killer, will be added to the MBS.
- With an overwhelming percentage of older Australians telling us they want to age at home – and thousands on a lengthy waiting list – the Government is providing $282 million for an additional 10,000 home-care packages.
- The Budget provides $331 million for new and amended listings on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), including life-changing medicines to treat lung, bladder, kidney and skin cancers and leukaemia.
- Changes to the work test are set to help pre-retirees pump up their superannuation balances.
- An increase in the age limit for spouse contributions is aimed at helping close the gender super gap and provide Australians with greater flexibility to save for retirement.
- Tax relief was promised and there’s provision for an extra $158 billion on top of the $144 billion in tax cuts in last year’s Personal Income Tax Plan. But who’s it for?
- And, of course, there is the one-off, income-tax-exempt payment to more than 3.9 million Australians to assist with their next power bill.
So, while older Australians won’t be popping champagne corks, a few measures may ease cost-of-living pressures – for some. We provide all the detail around the key elements that could make a difference to your financial and emotional security. Keep an eye on your inbox tomorrow morning.