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Energy Price Plan Relief

Over 5 years, $1.5bn has been given to offer targeted energy bill relief and progressing gas market reform. The Energy Bill Relief Fund will be given targeted energy bill relief to qualified small business customers and households that include Family Tax Benefit A and B recipients, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Holders, pensioners, and small business customers of electricity retailers.

In collaboration with the territories and states, the plan is expected to provide up to $500 in electricity bill relief for households that are eligible for this plan and up to $650 for qualified small businesses. Funding has also been given to the ACCC to impose the temporary cap of $12 per gigajoule on the gas price and to implement a necessary gas code of conduct. Additionally, funding for Australian Energy Regulators to keep track of coal and gas across the National Electricity Market.

It has been expected by the government that retail electricity price increases in 2023-24 and they might be nearly 25% smaller and retail gas price increases approximately 16% smaller because of their interventions.

Household Energy Upgrade Fund

A $1.3bn Household Energy Upgrades Fund will be established to provide support for home upgrades that improve the performance of energy. No, the government isn’t providing cash for upgrades but offering $1bn to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to offer low-cost finance and mortgages in collaboration with private financial institutions for home upgrades that save energy. $300m is committed to upgrading social housing in partnership with territories and states. Additionally, more than $36m to upgrade the energy ratings systems.

An Incentive to Provide Medicare Bulk Billing to Concession Card Holders and Children

As mentioned previously, the bulk billing incentive benefits will be tripled from 2022-23 for consultations for Commonwealth concession card holders and patients who come under the age of 16 years.

Fewer People Pay Medicare Levy

The Medicare levy low-income thresholds will increase from 1 July 2022 for families, singles, seniors, and pensioners.

Threshold From To
Singles $23,365 $24,276
Family $39,402 $40,939
Single seniors & pensioners $36,925 $38,365
Family seniors & pensioners $51,401 $53,406

 

The family income criteria will likely be increased to $3,760 from the current $3,619 for each student or dependent child.

Exempting Arrears Lump Sum Payments from the Medicare Levy

To prevent low-income earners who receive eligible lump sum payments from being charged a higher amount of Medicare Levy, the Government is planning to introduce a technical amendment. This will apply to situations where individuals receive lump sum compensation payments for underpaid wages, among others.

Taxpayers must have been eligible for a reduction in the Medicare levy in the two most recent years to which the lump sum pertains. They must fulfil the requirements for the existing lump sum payment in arrears tax offset, which involves receiving a lump sum payment that accounts for at least 10% of their income in the year of receipt.

Increasing JobSeeker

The support for people who receive working-age payments will be increased by the government, including JobSeeker.

The base rate of student and working-age payments will likely be increased by $40 per fortnight from September 20, 2023. The increase applies to the JobSeeker payment, Parenting payment, Austudy, youth allowance, Disability Support Pension (youth), ABSTUDY, and special benefits.

Eligibility for the current higher single JobSeeker Payment rate for recipients 60 years old and over will be extended to the recipients 55 years old and over who are on the payment for 9 or more months.

Single Parent Payment Increase

The age cut-off for the single parent payment will increase from 8 to 14 with effect from 20 September 2023. Single parents moving to parent payment will also benefit from more appropriate earning arrangements as compared to JobSeeker. Qualified single parents with at least one dependent child will be able to make an extra $569.10 per fortnight and per additional child, it will be an extra $24.60, before their payment stops.

Increased Rent Assistance

The Commonwealth Rent Assistance allowances’ maximum rate will increase by 15% from 2022-23.

Scheme Allowing Pensioners to Earn More Extended

Age pensioners and veterans are now allowed to earn more money before their pension is decreased for an additional six months, through December 31, 2023. Under this measure, pensioners will be able to make up to $11,800 before their pension is reduced.

In-Home Aged Care Increase

In 2023-24, an additional 9,500 Home Care Packages will be available. The $338.7m package also includes a trial to check services and products for a new assistive technologies loan program that is going to start in July 2024 within 2 states and territories.

Home Guarantee Scheme Access Expanded to Friends and Siblings

From 1 July 2023, the government’s Home Guarantee Scheme access will be expanded to friends, siblings, and other family members and to those who haven’t bought a home for at least 10 years.

 

Scheme Eligibility Criteria From 1 July 2023
First Home Guarantee –

guarantees part of a first home owner’s home loan allowing them to buy a home with a 5% deposit with no LMI. Guarantee capped at 15% of the property’s value.

To the scheme, 35,000 places are available per year.

·        Applying as a couple (married/de facto) or an individual.

·        First home buyers who haven’t previously bought or had an interest in, a property in Australia.

·        Citizens of Australia at the time they enter into the loan.

·        Candidates age must be at least 18 years old.

·        Making money up to $125,000 for individuals, or for couples, it must be $200,000.

·        Likely to be owner-occupier of the purchased property.

·        Siblings, friends, and other family members will qualify for joint applications not just an individual or couple.

·        Non-first home buyers and first home buyers who haven’t bought a property in Australia in the last 10 years.

·        Permanent residents and Australian citizens when they enter the loan.

 

Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee –

The first home guarantee extension is applicable to regional areas only.

To this scheme, 10,000 places are available each year until June 30, 2025.

·        The borrower must have resided in the regional area (or a nearby location) for the previous 12 months prior to the date they sign the home loan agreement, in addition to the requirements listed above for the First Home Guarantee. ·        The regional area eligibility criteria in addition to the First Home Guarantee eligibility requirement.
Family Home Guarantee –

guarantees a single parent’s mortgage, allowing them to buy a property with as little as a 2% deposit and avoid paying the lender’s mortgage insurance. Guarantee limited to 15% of the property’s value.

Per year, 5,000 places are available to this scheme until June 30 2025.

·        Applying as an individual entity.

·        A single parent with at least one dependent child (adopted or natural).

·        An Australian citizen when they enter into the loan.

·        Age must be at least 18 years old or above.

·        Earning must not exceed $125,000 per year.

·        Not currently an owner of the property.

·        Likely to be owner-occupier of the purchased property.

·        A single parent with at least one dependent child, including grandparents, aunts, and uncles who are legally responsible for their care.

·        Permanent residents of Australia and Australian citizens when they enter into a loan.

 

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