It's that time again. The federal government has recently released the 2018-19 Budget, and there has been mixed responses surrounding the benefits, or lack of benefits, it will bring to different groups in Australian society.
The allocation of federal funding is guided by the desire to maintain the strength of the Australian economy and support its continued growth. A strong economy benefits all Australians, and allows the government to guarantee essential services, such as Medicare, schools, hospitals, disability and aged care services. However, with such a diverse population comprised of different groups, with varying needs, it is difficult to fully cater to everyone, with a finite amount of funding. The 2018-19 Budget has focused on a few key areas to try and stimulate the most amount of growth.
Here is a quick run-down of the main highlights of the 2018-19 Budget and its impact on Australian society.
One of the strongest focuses of this year's budget is on job growth. Job growth is a major indicator of a healthy economy, as increased employment opportunities lead to a number of benefits, like increased workforce productivity, greater quality of life, and decreased financial dependence on the welfare system. In the 2018-19 Budget, the government has placed a strong emphasis on providing businesses with financial assistance to stimulate the creation of additional jobs in the market.
The 2018-19 Budget will lower taxes for small and medium-sized business as part of the Enterprise Tax Plan. This will put more money in the pockets of business owners and encourage greater re-investment into business operations, which often means the financial ability to hire and support a larger workforce.
Another benefit for small businesses in the 2018-19 Budget, is the extension of the $20,000 instant asset write-off for businesses that turn over less than $10 million per annum. This tax offset will help to improve the cash flow of small businesses and make it more viable for them to create employment opportunities for Australians.
With small to medium enterprises (SMEs) contributing more than half of Australia's GDP, taking care of these entities are a top priority for the government. When small and medium-sized businesses are supported, they in turn support the communities that they work within, help elevate the standard of living, and contribute significantly to the overall wellbeing of the nation's economy.
Also, the 2018-19 Budget has outlined the allocation of $75 billion for transport infrastructure over 10 years. This increased investment in infrastructure will help to further facilitate the creation of jobs, as the construction alone will generate a wave of employment opportunities. Infrastructure investment is also important, as it is the key to improving accessibility to businesses and creating new hubs for economic activity in Australia. Well-connected transport infrastructure helps to create environments in which businesses can thrive, thanks to the increased visibility and potential for traffic. Some of the infrastructure projects that will benefit from the 2018-19 Budget include, Western Sydney Airport's Rail system, the M1 Motorway Corridor, building the Coffs Harbour Bypass, delivering stages 2 and 3 of the Bunbury Outer Ring Road in WA, etc.
The budget allocated to improving Australia's infrastructure will also fund infrastructure that will help open up regional areas and ensure that Australia's economic growth is spread beyond major cities. Enhancing connectivity to regional Australia will improve job prospects for locals in these areas and help build stronger communities.
Working Australians are also one of the winners in the 2018-19 Budget, as a tax cut will be given to small and medium-income earners. These tax cuts will reward working Australians for contributing to the economy and incentivise greater participation in the workforce, as they will be able to retain a larger portion of their earnings
The federal government is committed to delivering a taxation system that is fairer and simpler for the working Australian. The Personal Income Tax Plan outlined in the 2018-19 Budget will provide permanent tax relief for low to medium income earners, helping them cope with the cost of living. Low to medium income earners will immediately see a tax cut of up to $530 a year. In addition to this, the 32.5 per cent tax bracket will be lifted to $90,000 from the 1st of July 2018. This decreased tax rate for more than 200,000 taxpayers, will encourage people to work longer hours, take on additional work, progress in their career and attract new people to the labour force, without the fear of being taxed harshly.
The adequate provision of essential services to all Australians is vital for society to function and progress. Essential services include, schools, hospitals, aged care services and so on. The federal Budget 2018-19 will continue to ensure that Australians will have adequate access to these important services and improve their quality of life.
Here are some of the essential services that will benefit from the Budget 2018-19:
- More Choices For A Longer Life
With Australians living significantly longer, the federal government is funding a program called 'More Choices For A Longer Life'. The purpose of this program is to empower older Australians, by increasing and preserving the choices available to them, and enabling them to get the most out of their lives. More Choices For A Longer Life focuses on four key areas of support: improving skills and job prospects, financing retirement, safeguarding their rights and improving the quality of aged care, and supporting choice and a healthy life.
- National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
Under the 2018-19 Budget the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will be fully funded and topped up from the increase in the Medicare Levy. This will ensure that Australians living with a disability have the lifetime care and support they require.
- Education: Gonski Report Recommendations
The 2018-19 Federal Budget has also shown commitment to the Gonski Report, through the allocation of necessary funding to endorse the recommendations that were made and provide better education for Australia's youth. $24.5 billion will be dedicated to delivering the Quality Schools package.
- Record Hospital Funding
The Budget has outlined record levels of funding for public hospitals. The new public hospital agreement will provide more than $30 billion in extra funding, so that all Australians will be able to access high quality health care when they need it. The Budget 2018-19, will also guarantee funding for the Medicare Benefit Schedule (MBS) and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), as well as financial support for mental illness and the promotion of healthier lifestyles.
Access to essential services is fundamental for a thriving society. When the basic needs of Australians are taken care of, they can focus on being a productive member of society and contribute to the Australian economy.
For the full Federal Budget 2018-19, click here.
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