For those of you who couldn't be bothered reading the billion page 2011-2012 Budget don't worry, I did it for you. Well, some of it. Frankly I started to go cross-eyed and despite the third cup of coffee it just wasn't getting any easier to plough through. I did however, note several million important parts that I thought I'd share with you all. Some you might find interesting, some are not. I will leave my opinion out (I know, scary) as it's conjectural. There are good bits, and bad bits....and hidden quirks. Happy reading.
Not much happening in the Environmental section, probably due to the release of the Carbon Tax details due on July 1st, but the following two bits were interesting. Green loans, which encourage households and businesses to go 'green' by giving loans at a very low interest rate up to $10'000 dollars have now ceased. There will also be significant reduction in the Solar School Program with only a few million dollars left in the coffers for that one.
Now, onto Disabilities.
There will be changes in the current support for parents and carers of children with a disability. Where it used to end when the child reached 7 (and still does for children with ASD) it now continues till the child reaches 15 years of age. Changes are as follows......Up to 7 years parents and carers receive $12'000 to help with support and programs etc.....from 7-15 parents and carers now receive Medicare funded help with treatment and diagnosis so long as a plan is already in place. Those living in remote and rural areas will receive an additional $2'000 for help to access services.
1 percent of all those on a Disability Pension will be audited to check their eligibility. All Disability Pensioners can now work up to 30 hours per week and still receive part payment. In order to get this pension, claimants will have to provide evidence they tested their work capacity by participating in training or work before applying.
Wage subsidy for those on a Disability Pension is applicable only if they work over 15 hours per week for 26 weeks. This will be $3'000 extra for Employers and $2'000 for training alone.
40 extra mental health support services. (cost 61 million- 18.5 of that in 2015-16). Personal helpers and mentors. (208.3 million- 60.2 of that for 2015-16)
Expansion of 'Headspace' Program for youth mental health (15-25) to cost 197.3 million.
409 million saved by reducing the rebate for GP's who complete Mental Health Plans with patients based on time it took to complete.
New mental health initiative called Allied Health Treatment Services will limit the number of services that those with mild or moderate mental health issues can access while ensuring that those with advanced mental health illness get appropriate care. Savings here of 174.6 million.
1.8 billion over 6 years to be spent in Health and Hospitals. 1.33 billion in 63 projects across Australia (including 265.6 million in 15-16) with 315 million of that already allocated to Hobart and Port Macquarie Hospitals.
HECS voluntary advance payments bonus goes from 10% to 5%. Discount on HECS paid upfront drops from 20% to 10%. These two changes will result in a saving of 479.5 million.
As promised to Member for Lyne and Member for New England, 500 million to go into the regional priority round from Education Investment Fund improving infrastructure, training and education in higher education.
Higher Education Regional Loading will receive increased funding to 109.9 million.
171.3 million over 2 years will go to Indigenous Education Support Programs.
Higher Education Capital pool has been dropped, saving 298 million.
ALTC, which administered grants, awards and incentives to promote quality in learning and in higher education has been dropped saving 87.7 million.
The Digital Education Revolution has been scrapped saving 132.5 million.
The new National Rewards program for great teachers giving cash incentives and bonuses based on performance criteria will cost 425 million.
The school chaplaincy program will be expanded, focussing on disadvantaged, rural and remote areas at a cost of 222 million.
200 million will be spent in schools to help support children with a disability.
Trade Training Centres in schools will be delayed and instead of a 11-12 commencement, will begin in 14-15, saving 102 million.
Grants for small business to implement family friendly working arrangements have been scrapped.
20 million for low language, numeracy and literacy programs.
101 million for mentoring of Apprentices.
Australian Apprenticeship Incentive Program will change to be applicable only if you are Indigenous, disabled, mature aged or doing a school-based apprenticeship. This will save 59 million.
Current job seekers must do 6 months per year of approved work, training etc....from July 2011 they will have to do 11 months per year.
Funding for Skill Assessments will be increased for those over 50 with trade skills but no qualifications. Organisations will receive $2'000 per person to assess them and an additional $2'000 for training to fill any gaps found.
34 Regional Strategists will be employed to develop regional education, skills and job plans. This was promised to Members for Lyne and New England.
Employment services will be streamlined saving 167.8 million.
PPP and PPS (Parenting Payments) will cease when the child turns 12 to encourage parents back to work sooner. Youth Allowance will rise to 21 years of age while Newstart will start at 22 from July 2011. This will save 183.9 million.
Paid Paternity Leave for fathers consisting of two weeks wage will be deferred to 1/01/13.
FTB parts A & B will be fixed for three years saving 803.2 million. Thresholds will also be paused saving 1'201.9 million.
Child Support will be re-assessed for those who have not lodged a tax return for at least 2 years. It will now be assessed based on last known Tax Return + indexed rises. Child support payments will also now affect FTB payments by reducing the amount received. No mention of whether this will still be reduced if payments are not made.
Advance on FTB A of up to $1'000 for unexpected large expenses to be paid back over 6 months. This is subject to assessment that this amount can be paid back without detrimental affects on the household.
All children aged 4-5 will be required to undergo a full health check before starting school. This will determine who is eligible for FTB A as parents who do not meet requirements for child health 2 years after the initial assessment will have their payments stopped.
Increase in funding for ASD Early Intervention due to increase in need.
Cape York Welfare Reform program will be continued and expanded. Focus will be on home ownership.
Immigration and Foreign Aid.
Indonesia will get 492.8 million for education and construction of 2'000 new schools. Elsewhere in the Pacific, 148 million for water and sanitation projects and 34 million for avoidable blindness.
Africa, South and Central Asia and the Middle East will receive 827.1 million.
Volunteer, NGO and community programs will receive 244 million.
PNG will receive 150 million for education and ending the violence against women.
Department of Immigration and Citizenship will have their funding reduced by 198.2 million for Corporate Support, Policy and Program Design and Service Delivery Functions.
216 million to pay for the acceptance of 14'750 immigrants from Indonesia yearly.
800 unprocessed immigrants will be sent to Indonesia in exchange for 4'000 processed refugees.
There were many, many pages of further information, I simply looked at those that are spotlighted. Feel free to take a look yourself if there is any other information you wish to have. I hope that my simple version of things helps in some way to understand where money was spent and what savings were made. I only had a cursory glance at Defence as it was convoluted and my brain was fried. I do know that 2 billion was saved but couldn't tell you where. Indigenous spending was a subject I did look at but with the exception of the Cape York Welfare Reform and some targeted Education, there was no new spending in this area. Single males, single females and high income earners were largely ignored.
Hope the post is helpful to all....Cheers.