Budget 2018

Budget 2018: What we know so far and what you will get

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Budget 2018: Workers earning less than $87,000, and some drivers and rail commuters, are set to be the big winners in Tuesday's federal budget.

The federal budget will be handed down on Tuesday and while there will be some surprises, a range of measures have already been announced. Here's what we know so far.

Income tax cuts

Lower and middle-income earners are set to get tax relief before those in the higher tax brackets, the federal government has confirmed.

It is believed those earning up to $87,000 a year will get the first tranche of the cuts from July 1 this year, while those earning more than $180,000 could wait until 2024. 

The government says workers should receive “reward for effort” but it has also hosed down workers’ expectations. Treasurer Scott Morrison has told the public not to expect “mammoth” tax cuts in the budget.

There'll also be another type of tax relief with workers no longer facing the prospect of paying hundreds of dollars a year extra with a hike in the Medicare levy.

The government has confirmed it has dropped plans to raise the levy from 1.5 to two per cent in order to fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme. A worker earning $100,000, for example, would have stood to pay $500 a year under the policy.

Infrastructure and transport

The government is putting forward a multi-billion dollar infrastructure package, promising Australians will get home safer and have shorter commute times. 

The $24 billion boost will include $400 million in funding to extend the Port Botany rail line in Sydney, which is hoped to push freight transport from road to rail and cut down traffic congestion around Sydney airport.

In Victoria, the government has also previously pledged $5 billion to build the Melbourne Airport Rail Link, which it says will reduce commute times, cut congestion, and create thousands of jobs.

In Queensland, the government has committed to funding 80 per cent of an upgrade to the Bruce Highway at Murrumba Downs/Griffin, which it says will cut congestion and ease access from the Sunshine Coast for thousands of families in the area.

Reef relief

In what the government says is a record investment, $500 million will be spent on restoring and protecting the Great Barrier Reef.

The package includes scientific funding to build the Reef’s resilience, measures to help farmers change their practices and reduce sediment run-off into the Reef, improving water quality and tackling the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish.

Health

All pregnant women will be getting the whooping cough vaccine for free under a $39.5 million immunisation initiative.

Young patients with spinal muscular atrophy will no longer have to pay more than $300,000 a year for vital medicines, with the government spending $241 million to list Spinraza on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Patients under the age of 18 will now only stand to pay a maximum of $39.50 per script.

Meanwhile, the mental health telephone service Lifeline is being funded to the tune of $34 million to help the charity more phone calls.

There's also $3.9 million in funding for Australians from multicultural backgrounds over three years. 

Tax cuts for local brewers

Australians are also being promised potentially cheaper beer with tax relief for craft brewers, who will see a 40 per cent tax for using smaller kegs axed.

Aged care

From January, complaints about aged care can be directed to a new watchdog named the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.

There are also more reforms flagged for home care packages following two major reviews of the sector.

Tobacco cuts

The illicit tobacco trade will be under the firing line with new powers flagged for the Australian Tax Office to charge duties and require importers to obtain permits to bring in tobacco. The office will also seek to shut down illegal tobacco crops known as "chop chop".

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