Opinion: THE 2016 BUDGET

May 5, 2016

Opinion: THE 2016 BUDGET

Malcolm Turnbull’s slogan for this year’s budget might be all ‘jobs and growth’ (he mentioned it 13 times in his delivery of the budget on Tuesday night) but there was little reprieve for working families, with plans for any child care incentives put on the back burner for another two years.

The Federal Government’s Budget revealed its $3.2 billion reforms, aimed at making childcare more affordable for one million families, would be delayed until mid 2018, which will put extra pressure on families to make ends meet.

As a working mother-of-three, I’m fortunate my children are now of school age, however I’m all too familiar with the crippling costs of childcare for families with younger children and this budget is extremely disappointing for those in this category. I have no doubt this will affect their decision at the polling booth during the upcoming election.

There really were no surprises in this year’s budget with many describing it as safe, measured and underwhelming.

But there was some good news – the clear winners were small to medium businesses. With a 10-year plan to boost job growth, the Government’s tax cut for businesses earning under $10 million a year is aimed at making it more affordable for employers to increase their payroll; great news for the Sunshine Coast, given that more than 90 per cent of businesses in the region are considered small to medium.

Middle-income earners also received modest tax relief, with an increase in the upper limit for the second highest tax bracket of 37 cents in the dollar from $80,000 to $87,000. Rather than being taxed at 37 per cent on every dollar earned over $80,000, workers in that magic range will stay on the 32.5 per cent tax rate. Equating to a saving of around $317 per year or less than $1 a day, it’s hardly anything to get too excited about and the other 75 per cent of Aussie taxpayers earning less than $80,000 missed out entirely.

Some other positives handed down in the budget included the decision to leave negative gearing unchanged, putting to rest the heated debate on whether the practice should be prohibited or adjusted and subsequently leaving investors feeling more confident, as well as a crackdown on multinational corporate tax avoidance, great news for Australian-owned businesses.

Job seekers will be better off too, with a new initiative to get people under twenty-five and currently on employment benefits trained to enter the workforce, and a massive price hike meaning smokers will have to cough up almost $40 for a packet of cigarettes – a fantastic move by the Government to make smoking even more unattractive to our younger generation, which, as a parent, is music to my ears.

All in all, there were very few surprises in this budget (positive or negative) and it is still unclear as to whether working families will reap any significant financial benefits, but with an estimated $1.6 billion remaining in the budget for decisions yet to be announced, there’s no doubt the Government will announce some sweeteners in the coming months leading up to the election.

Stay tuned – it might just get a little more exciting!

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