Budget 2014/15 – New Taxes & Increased Cost of Living

May 14, 2014

The Abbott Government has brought down its first budget, which attacks families, students, pensioners and the sick. This budget directly increases the cost of living for residents of Holt.

“This is a Budget of broken promises, cruel cuts and unfair increases in the cost of living. It is built on more than $80 billion in savage cuts to schools and hospitals over the next 10 years. It will increase waiting times at the Casey Hospital, Dandenong Hospital and the Monash Medical Centre. The Victorian State Government will now also be allowed to introduce Emergency Room/Hospital Taxes. It’s a new tax on getting sick. Families in Holt will now be hit by new taxes and cost of living increases’, said Mr Byrne.

‘Families will have to pay a new petrol tax to Tony Abbott every time they get in their car, and a new GP tax every time they take their sick child to the doctor’, said Mr Byrne.

Students at university will also suffer, as deregulation of university fees will lead to skyrocketing fees for university students. Cuts to the Tools for Your Trade Program and a new loan of up to $20,000 loan is available for apprentices that will increase their own levels of debt,’ said Mr Byrne.

‘Holt pensioners will feel absolutely betrayed by the Abbott Government’s attack on their modest living standards. Mr Abbott expects Australians to work until they’re 70 years old by 2035. That will be the oldest retirement age in the world,’ said Mr Byrne.

Jobseekers up to 30 will be prevented from accessing Newstart or Youth Allowance for a six month “waiting period”, then limited to six months before being removed from income support, before being permitted back on after a further six months. Many disability pensioners under 35 will be “reassessed” and those with “some work capacity” forced to seek employment.

‘Australia only one of 10 countries in the world with a AAA credit rating from all three ratings agencies. We have low government debt, and our economy has continued to grow. There is no need for the Abbott Government to make deep cuts and increase the cost of living for working families in Holt’, said Mr Byrne.

‘Last night’s Budget was not the ‘Best Day for Australia’ as the Treasurer has claimed but a day where working families will now suffer from the Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s new taxes, a petrol tax hike and cuts to schools and hospitals,’ said Mr Byrne.

Media Enquires: Daniel White (03) 9796 7533.

Boost for Holt’s Home and Community Care Services

May 6, 2014

Anthony Byrne MP, Federal Member for Holt, welcomed the announcement that frail, older people and younger people with a disability in Holt will get extra support to stay in their own homes thanks to a $468,861 boost from the Australian and Victorian Governments.

Anthony Byrne MP said the extra Home and Community Care funding would be distributed among 14 services in Narre Warren and Doveton.

The Home and Community Care program provides critical services that help older people and people with a disability stay independent for longer, by providing care where most people prefer to receive it – in their own homes and communities.

This includes nursing and allied health care, personal care, domestic assistance, meals, and social support, as well as respite services for carers – without which many people wouldn’t be able to remain living independently.

“These are all essential to older people and people with disability staying safe and well, and remaining connected to their community and in control of their own lives,” said Mr Byrne.

Media Enquires: Daniel White (03) 9796 7533.

8.4 million Australians to receive more super from 1 July

Jun 30, 2013

Labor is determined to ensure Australians who work hard their entire lives don’t retire poor.

That’s why from tomorrow, around 8.4 million hard working Australians will see more going into their retirement savings.

The Superannuation Guarantee will increase tomorrow, 1 July, from 9 to 9.25 per cent and continue to increase gradually to 12 per cent over coming years.

This increase will mean a 30 year old on average full-time wages who retires at 67 will retire with around $127,000 extra in superannuation savings.

In addition, from 1 July –

• Around 3.6 million low income and part time working Australians earning $37,000 or less, including 2.1 million women, will receive a tax cut on their superannuation contribution of up to $500 a year.

• The upper age limit on universal super will be abolished meaning working Australians over 70 will receive the universal superannuation contribution for the first time.

• Australians reaching retirement (over 60) can now contribute up to $10,000 more to their super at the concessional tax rate.

• First MySuper products will become available to provide simple, cost effective default superannuation products, which will deliver a significant improvement in the retirement outcomes of ordinary working Australians.

• The trans-Tasman retirement savings portability scheme commences, helping thousands of Australians and New Zealanders who move across the Tasman Sea each year consolidate their retirement savings.

Labor’s superannuation reforms will boost our national pool of superannuation savings by more than $500 billion by 2037.

Superannuation contributes significantly to national savings, employment, financial stability and economic growth and takes the pressure off the Age Pension.

Labor created superannuation, grown and supported it and we are now squarely focused on ensuring it has a strong future.

Schoolkids Bonus cash arrives from today

Jan 9, 2013

From today the first payment of the Schoolkids Bonus will be delivered straight into the bank accounts of 1.3 million families.

It will help lighten the load for families with back-to-school costs at the time when they need it most.

The Schoolkids Bonus helps parents buy uniforms, shoes, school books and stationery, as well as other costs like school excursions, music lessons and sports registration fees.

Each year eligible families will receive up to $410 for each child in primary school and up to $820 a year for each high school student. The Bonus is paid in two instalments – in January and July.

Unlike the old Education Tax Refund, families no longer have to collect a pile of receipts or fill out extra paperwork at tax time to receive the Schoolkids Bonus.

The January instalment is going out to all families that receive fortnightly Family Tax Benefit payments over the next fortnight.

The families of 1.2 million primary school kids and 1 million high school kids will be receiving this new cash bonus.

Families with kids starting primary or high school next year need to make sure their child’s enrolment details are up to date with Centrelink. They can do this by checking their details on the Centrelink website.

Families who claim their Family Tax Benefit at the end of the financial year will receive their payment then.

Young people in school receiving Youth Allowance and some other income support payments can also be eligible for the Schoolkids Bonus, and should contact Centrelink.

For the latest information about the Schoolkids Bonus and other family assistance measures, visit www.australia.gov.au/schoolkidsbonus or like the Australian Families Facebook page at www.facebook.com/FamiliesInAustralia.

Legislation for a National Disability Insurance Scheme

Nov 29, 2012

The Australian Government today took another step towards giving people with disability the care and support they need over their lifetimes, with the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Bill into Parliament.

The Gillard Government has delivered $1 billion for the first stage of a National Disability Insurance Scheme.

From the middle of next year, an NDIS will be real for more than 20,000 people with disability in five launch sites across the country – in the Barwon area in Victoria, the Hunter in New South Wales and across South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.

An NDIS will ensure people with disability, wherever they live, receive care and support based on their needs, and have choice and control over this support.

The Bill will give people with disability the right to realise their potential in life, and to make choices and be in control of the decisions that affect their lives.

The Bill establishes the NDIS Launch Transition Agency as an independent body (under the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997) to deliver the scheme.

The NDIS Agency will work with people with disability to develop a personal plan that identifies their goals and aspirations, recognises the support they receive from family and friends, and provides a statement of the support they will receive through the NDIS.

The Bill also supports people to manage their own funding where they choose to do so.

The Bill has been heavily shaped by the feedback the Government has received from people with disability, their families, carers and service providers, during numerous consultations across the country.

The Government has asked the Parliament to refer the Bill to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee for consideration, so that we can continue to receive feedback about this important reform.

We will also continue to work with states and territories as we work to build a National Disability Insurance Scheme.

People with disability, their families, carers and advocates will also have an opportunity to comment on the Bill on the Your Say forum on the NDIS website.

For more information about the Bill, visit www.ndis.gov.au

Government delivers historic water reform

Nov 22, 2012

After more than 100 years of disagreement, the Gillard Government will today present a final Murray Darling Basin Plan.

Water Minister, Tony Burke, said the Government had committed to delivering a Plan that restores our rivers to health, supports strong regional communities and sustainable food production.

“I have today signed the final Murray Darling Basin Plan into law,” Mr Burke said.

“The Government has accepted the Authority’s recommendation of a Basin Plan that returns 2750GL of surface water to the environment. It sets up a mechanism which allows governments to improve environmental, social or economic outcomes provided that improving one doesn’t sacrifice others.

“Importantly the Government has also committed to provide an additional $1.77 billion to relax key operating constraints and recover an additional 450GL of environmental water to look to achieve the environmental outcomes described in the 3200GL modelling and do so through projects to ensure there is no social and economic downside for communities.

“For decades the Murray Darling Basin was treated as though it ended at state borders.

“It doesn’t and consistent over-allocation and mismanagement seriously degraded the health of the system.

“By the time the last drought hit, the Basin’s ecosystems had essentially been living in drought conditions and had no resilience to cope.

“Only a national plan was going to address the many problems fragmented administration brought. That’s what this Government has delivered today in this Plan.

“We have done everything we can to minimise the impact on communities short of saying we will make a compromise on the health of the system because history has shown that if you negotiate too hard against a river, it negotiates back in a completely uncompromising way and that’s in no-one’s interest.

“The foundation and reason for the reform is unequivocally and unapologetically to restore the system to health. And wherever we could do that in ways that are sensitive to communities then that’s the pathway we have chosen.

“My view has always been that the best way to get the politics right is to get the policy right.”

Mr Burke said the plan will deliver vital additional water to the Basin including some 40,000 hectares of iconic vegetation such as the River Red Gums.

“The Plan will also flush an average of two million tonnes of salt from the Basin each year,’’ he said.

“This is enough salt to fill the Melbourne Cricket Ground and it’s the volume required to ensure the system is healthy.

“Discharging salt through the Murray Mouth, which will now be open more than nine years out of 10, will significantly improve water quality and prevent land degradation.

“There will be more magnificent waterbirds and native fish, and people will be able to visit river tourist locations to experience the stunning natural ecosystems of the Basin.”

Some of the ecological benefits the Plan will provide are:

•increased waterbird breeding opportunities – in Macquarie Marshes it is estimated there will be a 33 per cent increase in the potential for large breeding events

•Australia’s two largest red-river gum forests will be protected through periodic flooding to ensure their survival, and

•there will be a reduced incidence of high salinity periods in the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth that can harm fish and vegetation.

Mr Burke said the Plan would also ensure strong regional communities and sustainable food production.

“I have been clear from the start that this Government intended to deliver reform that restores the rivers to health and ensured strong regional communities and a vibrant irrigation industry,” Mr Burke said.

“That’s why the Government committed to bridge the gap to the sustainable diversion limits set in the Basin Plan.

“This includes spending $5.2 billion on irrigation infrastructure which is contributing to increased irrigation productivity and providing valuable employment benefits during design and construction phases.

“The infrastructure investment also enables irrigation and related industries, such as food processing, to position themselves for a future of less water due to climate change and variability.

“There are many other aspects of Basin water reform that will benefit industry. Trading rules will reduce or remove water trade barriers making it easier for irrigators to realise the value of their water licences.

“Improvements in the Basin environment will benefit many businesses such as floodplain farming, tourism, boating and fishing and all the other activities that rely on our river system being in good health.

“Businesses closer to the Murray mouth will get relief from concerns about water quality and the condition of lower reaches of the river.”

The final Plan is available at www.mdba.gov.au.

Parliament locks in historic equal pay rises

Oct 31, 2012

The Australian Government welcomes the passage of legislation through the Parliament today, locking in equal pay increases for 150,000 social and community services sector workers.

The legislation establishes the Social and Community Services Pay Equity Special Account confirming that the Australian Government will contribute $2.8 billion towards pay rises for social and community services sector (SACS) workers over the next eight years.

This follows the decision by Fair Work Australia to grant SACS workers pay rises in nine instalments totalling between 23 and 45 per cent.

The Special Account will provide some of Australia’s lowest paid workers with peace of mind knowing the Australian Government’s contribution for their wage increases is secure throughout the implementation process.

Eligible workers will receive their first instalment in December, as scheduled.

Organisations who hire eligible workers will receive letters of offer for supplementation from the Australian Government in November.

The Australian Government is committed to delivering 100 per cent of its share of the historic Fair Work Australia increases for SACS programs it funds directly or through Commonwealth-State Agreements.

State and Territory governments must now step forward and commit their share of funds.

Fair Work Australia’s ruling earlier this year was a historic achievement for equal pay rights for women – around 120,000 of the 150,000 workers covered by the order are women.

These employees make a real difference to the lives of some of our most vulnerable community members.

The Australian Government will continue to work with the sector and State and Territory governments to ensure the smooth implementation of this historic equal remuneration claim.

The Government’s $2.8 billion contribution is fully funded and accounted for in the Budget.

The latest information on the implementation process is available through the dedicated website: www.fahcsia.gov.au/node/10776

Australia secures a seat on the United Nations Security Council

Oct 19, 2012

Australia has been elected to serve as a non-permanent member on the United Nations Security Council for 2013 and 2014.

For the next two years Australia will have a direct hand in shaping solutions to the world’s most pressing security challenges.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Foreign Minister Bob Carr thanked Australia’s regional and global partners for the confidence they had shown in Australia and underlined that Australia would play a constructive role across the breadth of the Council’s peace and security agenda.

Australia’s key priorities will include Afghanistan, Syria, Iran and North Korea. Australia will also work to ensure the effectiveness of UNSC sanctions regimes, including those targeting individuals associated with Al-Qaida.

Ms Gillard and Senator Carr congratulated Luxembourg, South Korea, Argentina and Rwanda, which were also elected to serve as non-permanent members for 2013-14.

The UN Security Council is at the core of the UN – it has primary responsibility in the global system for the maintenance of international peace and security. It has the power to make decisions that are binding on all UN Member States and to authorise coercive measures including sanctions and the use of force.

The Security Council’s work matters to Australia – its decisions directly affect Australian personnel deployed under Security Council mandates, including in Afghanistan and East Timor.

The Council oversees 15 peacekeeping operations (with 117,000 personnel deployed) and 13 political and peace-building missions across four continents. After the US, the UN has the largest number of troops deployed in the world. These deployments are authorised by the Security Council.

The Council also manages 13 sanctions regimes and eight subsidiary bodies covering topics such as weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, women and children and armed conflict, and women, peace and security.

This will be Australia’s fifth term on the Security Council since joining the UN as a founding member in 1945. Australia held the first Presidency of the Security Council in 1946. It has been 27 years since Australia last served on the Council in 1985-86.

Australia’s re-election to the Council for the 2013-14 term reflects Australia’s positive standing in global affairs and the significant contribution Australia makes to international peace and security.

Australia is the 12th largest contributor to the UN regular and peacekeeping budgets and has deployed 65,000 personnel to over 50 UN and other peace and security operations since 1947, including in East Timor, Solomon Islands and Bougainville.

Our Paralympic heroes are the pride of Australia

Sep 13, 2012

Acting Prime Minister Wayne Swan, Minister for Disability Reform Jenny Macklin, Minister for Sport Kate Lundy and Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers Jan McLucas today warmly welcomed home Australia’s 2012 Paralympic team at Sydney Airport.

Australia’s 161-strong team excelled on the Paralympic stage, finishing fourth in the gold medal count and fifth from 166 countries on the overall medal table collecting 32 gold, 23 silver and 30 bronze.

Our Paralympians proved that they can match it with the best at the Games, smashing an impressive 24 world and Paralympic records to boost Australia’s medal haul and continue the golden streak.

Over the past weeks the nation has been awestruck by the incredible performances and sporting prowess of our Paralympic champions.

The remarkable sporting achievements we’ve witnessed show our Paralympians are among the world’s top athletes.

The Gillard Government is working towards a future where all Australian children and adults with disability lead lives of dignity and opportunity.

The Government is also providing $1 billion to deliver the first stage of a National Disability Insurance Scheme to provide Australians with a disability the care and support they need, when they need it.

The Gillard Government provided strong funding to support our Paralympic Team, committing over $13.7 million in 2011-12 for the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) and $2.7 million in Direct Athlete Support (DAS) to help Australia’s Paralympic athletes reach their potential.

Australia’s Paralympians ready for the London games

Jun 25, 2012

Athletes selected as part of the Australian team for the upcoming Paralympics Games in London were announced today at a ceremony at Parliament House in Canberra.

The athletes will be joined by 140 officials in the largest Australian team ever to be selected to represent Australia in the Paralympics.

Minister for Sport, Kate Lundy congratulated the 161 athletes that will soon travel to London to represent Australia at the Games.

“Our Paralympians have all demonstrated remarkable drive, determination and tenacity to reach the peak of their sport so they can represent Australia on the international stage,” Senator Lundy said.

“Every four years the Paralympics showcase Australia’s tremendous sporting talent and I am confident our athletes will shine in London and continue Australia’s record of sporting success.”

The Minister for Disability Reform, Jenny Macklin said Australia is very proud to have such dedicated and passionate athletes who are ready and focused to give their very best in the coming months.

“I know how hard they have all worked over the years, training and dedicating so much of their time to excel in their chosen sports,” Minister Macklin said.

“With more than 4,200 athletes from 165 countries competing in this year’s Paralympics, we know they will make us proud.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas looked forward to the rest of Australia getting behind our athletes.

“The Paralympics is an opportunity for people with disability to come together and show Australia, and the world, that people with disability can live their dreams, achieve their goals and reach their full potential,” Senator McLucas said.

“Our Paralympians are an inspiration to all Australians and the entire nation will be cheering them on in London.”

“We wish our Paralympians all the best and know they will make us proud in London in the coming months.”

The Australian Government is proud of its support of our Paralympic athletes. In 2011-12, the Federal Government provided more than $13.5 million to the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC), as well as more than $2.7 million in Direct Athlete Support to Australia’s Paralympic athletes.

Since the Beijing Paralympic Games, the Government has provided almost $45 million to the APC to support Paralympic sport in Australia.

This support includes funding for sports programs for the 2012 Australian Paralympic Team, classification, education, broadcasting and other key initiatives as well as servicing and support through the Australian Institute of Sport.

To promote the values and ideals of the Paralympic Games to young Australians, the Australian Government launched the Prime Minister’s Paralympic Challenge earlier this year.

The program gives young people the opportunity to try a range of Paralympic sports and recognises the crucial role our Paralympians play in motivating Australia’s children to get out and be active. The Challenge commenced in May and will run until the Paralympic closing ceremony in September.

The 2012 London Paralympic Games will be the largest ever held with more countries and competitors than ever taking part in London from 29 August until 9 September, 2012.

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