As Wayne Swan held his Budget 2013-4 budget press conference he stated that this was a budget he was proud of, a budget for our grandchildren. Even when asked if he was booby-trapping the budget for an incoming Abbott Government, the Treasurer was undeterred in delivering his message.
The 2013-4 Federal Budget is not a budget littered with pre-election promises to garner the favour of voters. Instead it is a budget which will deliver $43 billion of savings over five years and will fund two major initiatives; DisabilityCare Australia and the National Plan for School Improvement.
However, as much as we thought we knew what would be in this year’s Federal Budget, there were a few surprises.
- Disability Care Australia, formerly known as national disability insurance scheme will be rolled out from 1 July 2013.
- National Plan for School Improvement, developed from the Gonski report, will receive funding from 2013-14
- A pilot program to allow older Australians to downsize their homes without affecting their Age Pension will be trialled from 1 July 2014.
- Additional funding to deliver world leading cancer care and research.
- General household threshold under the Extended Medicare Safety Net will increase to $2000 from 1 January 2015.
- Medicare Benefits Scheme indexation will be realigned, meaning doctors will receive less for bulk billing patients.
- Department of Human Services (Centrelink) to improve call centre services and extend data matching program.
- Increased income threshold for those on the Newstart Allowance.