With the Federal Budget less than two weeks away, Australians have been given an insight into the pain to come in order to balance the books. This quick snapshot highlights the key points under pensions, healthcare, taxation and more. Why not take the time to have your say?
The long awaited report from the Commission of Audit was released yesterday and while many of the 86 recommendations which had been aired in the media, the full force of cuts required to cover the rising costs of running a country took many by surprise. You can read the full release by visiting NCOA.gov.au, but for those who require a simple overview, this snapshot may help.
- Charge of $15 to see a bulk-billing doctor, $5 if you hold a pension concession card.
- Those earning over $88,000 (single) and $176,000 (couples) would have to pay an extra two per cent to access Medicare, or take out appropriate private health cover.
- A co-payment of $5 to access prescription medication.
- Slow down the roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
- Those currently over 50 would see no rise in Age Pension eligibility age, but the Age Pension age would rise to 70 by 2053.
- Family homes to be included in the means test from 2027, with limits of $500,000 set for singles and $750,000 set for couples.
- Make Age Pension eligibility more difficult for new applicants.
- Cut income tax by up to 10 per cent which will be offset by allowing states and territories to introduce their own levels of income tax and raise other levies.
- Preservation age to be raised to 62 by 2027.
- Sell off Government agencies, with Australia Post, Royal Australian Mint, NBN Co, Defence Housing and Snowy Hydro all earmarked.
- Passport services and government-owned enterprises highlighted for privatisation.
- 15,000 public service jobs to go.
- Government bodies to be amalgamated or eliminated.
- Reduction in defence funding.
It is worth noting that these are only recommendations and exactly which the Government will move forward with, and in what form, will not be known until the Federal Budget is announced on 13 May 2013. Interestingly, there is no mention of the debt levy, however, given that the Government has all but ruled out means-testing the primary home and changes to GST, the money will have to come from somewhere.
What are your initial thoughts on the Commission of Audit report? Do you think it hits the mark? Are there any recommendations which make your blood boil?