What will really change today?

Discover exactly which budget items will apply from today at the beginning of the new financial year. How will you be affected?

The concessional superannuation contributions cap will increase to $30,000 for those aged under 50, and $35,000 for those aged 50 and over, so you’ll pay just 15 per cent tax on contributions up to the new limit.

Guaranteed employer contributions will also go up 0.25 per cent, to 9.5 per cent.

Aged care
Aged care costs will increase for higher income earners. Those earning over $24,700, likely from superannuation, may be asked to contribute to their own nursing home costs. Those on a part-pension will have personal contributions to their nursing homes capped at $5000, and self-funded retirees will have personal contributions capped at $10,000. These contributions will be charged to individuals on top of basic daily care fees.

Health insurance
The threshold for the private health insurance rebate will now be available to singles earning up to $140,000 and families earning up to $280,000. Those earning less than $90,000 will be eligible for the full rebate.

Debt levy
Those who earn more than $180,000 per year will pay an extra two per cent tax on anything earned over that figure for the next three years.

Tax receipts
Anyone with a taxable income of over $100 who lodges a tax return within 18 months will receive a tax receipt from the Government, outlining how their tax dollars are being spent and reporting on the level of Australia’s debt.

The balance of power in the Senate will now be held by eight small-party and independent crossbenchers. This will be a mixed blessing for the government, as it means the carbon tax will be repealed, while Palmer United senators have indicated they will oppose other pieces of Government legislation, such as GP co-payments.

Minimum wage
The national minimum wage will increase to $16.87 per hour, or $640.90 per week.

Those living in NSW can expect to see more motorcyclists weaving between lanes of slow moving traffic, as the practice will today be legalised in that state. Motorcyclists will, however, have to keep to a maximum of 30 kilometres per hour when doing so.

National Disability Insurance Scheme
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will begin in the ACT, the Barkly region of the Northern Territory and in Perth Hills, ahead of a country-wide rollout, expected to be completed by 2019.


Opinion: The devil you know

Many of the Abbott Government’s more controversial budget items will not take effect today, as they must first pass through the new Senate. And, with such a diverse crossbench, it will be difficult to predict which pieces of legislation they will choose to pass.

I am hopeful that some of the more unfair budget items, such as the $7 GP co-payment, will be rejected. But, regardless of the hope such an unpredictable crossbench can bring, it is that unpredictability which is making many Australians nervous. Not knowing what Australia’s political future will hold makes it difficult to feel secure in any plans we make as individuals.

So what do you think? Would it be better to know exactly which pieces of legislation will be passed, even if you don’t like the decision? Or do you prefer to live in doubt, but with the possibility of a good outcome? And how will the changes coming in today affect you?