The recent Federal Budget, handed down on Tuesday 8 May by Treasurer Scott Morrison, has attracted much attention for its apparent generosity towards working Australians.
Under a new tax offset, up to 10 million workers will save up to $530, about $10 a week, in the next financial year. Further measures will lead to 94% of Australians paying the 32.5 percent tax rate by 2025.
There is also good news for small business owners, who will have another year to claim the $20,000 instant asset write-off, allowing them to deduct the cost of goods costing less than $20,000.
Older Australians will benefit from an increase in the number of home care places by 14,000 over four years, more access to aged care services in regional areas, and the ability to earn an additional $1300 a year without having their pension payments cut.
The news is less cheerful for refugees and migrants. Currently refugees have to wait 13 weeks to receive help from the government’s Jobactive job services provider. That is now being doubled, to 26 weeks.
The government says the waiting period will help them improve their English language skills. The Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) welcomes the streamlining of services to assist newly arrived refugees in settlement and improving language skills. FECCA also welcomes increased flexibility in the Adult Migrant English Program for migrants aged under 18 years.
However, FECCA is disappointed with a measure to save $200 million over five years by making migrants wait for four years to access welfare payments, instead of the current three years. FECCA Chairperson Mary Patetsos said this will impose “considerable hardship” on migrants at the very time they need a little help to settle into their new home.
While welcoming the announcement of a pathway to permanency for Retirement Visa Holders, Ms Patetsos also expressed disappointment that places for the Retirement Visa Holders who wished to apply for permanent residency would be taken from the current planned parent permanent migration quota, rather than being additional new places.