Budget 2014: What it Means to an Ordinary Aussie

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Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey delivered the first budget under the government of Prime Minister Tony Abbot on Tuesday night. The treasurer stated that the budget aimed to put a national effort for the Australians to fix the budget together. So what does the budget means to an ordinary Australian citizen?

On the winning side, pregnant women with an annual income of up to $100,000 will enjoy paid parental leave. Under this scheme, they will be provided with up $50,000 for up to six months maternity leave so they get to take care of their babies.

For 2014, indigenous communities will still get the policy and school attendance improvement which were committed during the election. However, the administration of more than 150 indigenous policies and programs will be rationalised in the next five years.  

Mostly on the downside, public servants will be largely hit with 16,500 job losses in the span of more than four years as 76 government agencies will be consolidated, abolished, privatised, or merged.

Prospective university students are also faced with higher student loans as budget for university courses will be cut by 20 per cent. Graduates will also be forced to pay their loans sooner with the higher interest rates that the government will impose.  

People of over 50 years old who have been on unemployment benefits or the disability support pension for six months can have the chance to go back to work. Under the restart program, the government offers $10,000 payment to businesses who employ such individuals.

Unemployed people who are aged 25 to 30 years of age will have to render 15 hours of work for the Dole program starting July 2014 for which they will get only Newstart or Youth Allowance for six months of the year.  The same amount of work will be rendered by jobseekers who have been out in the job market for over a year which will be increased to 25 per week on July 2015 onwards. Those who refused to work without justifiable reason will not be paid for eight weeks unless they add work or prove financial destitution.

Sick people who seek medical services will have to shell out $7 for co-payment. This will hold true for doctor's consultation, out of hospital pathology and diagnostic imaging services. The co-payment will hold true for the first 10 services per year for out-patients with concession cards and children below 16 years old. Out-patients with concession cards will also incur 80c to $6.90 while general patients will shell out $5 to $42.70 for the co-payments on the purchase of medicine under the pharmaceutical benefits scheme.  

People with disability who are below 35 years old will have their cases reassessed. If found eligible to work for more than eight hours a week they will have to render compulsory work program or face sanction. They will also be allowed only to leave Australia for up to four weeks per annum.  

Motorists will have to experience an estimated 4 cents increase in petrol prices for the next four years.

As for solo parents and families with just one parent at home will, instead of the normal Family Tax Benefit B until their youngest child turns 18, they will already loose the benefit once the child turns 6. Middle income solo parents and families who earn from $100,000 to $150,000 will lose the benefit. Wealthy families and two income earners will have to shell out $800 per family for the temporary budget repair levy as family tax benefit A+B payments will not be imposed for two years.

Pensioners who currently received $46,600 every year from their assets and pension will only be able to earn $30,000 moving forward. Also, couple pensioners also earn $77,400 at present will have only be able to claim up to $50,000. People born after 1968 will have to wait until they are 70 years old to start claiming their pension. Rise in pensions will be based only on inflation and no other factors.

Senior citizens with Commonwealth Seniors Health Card will not anymore receive health supplements.  

To watch the video of Treasurer Joe Hockey's budget delivery, please visit The Guardian.

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