Malcolm Turnbull

Changes to power prices, penalty rates and politicians' pay come into force


The new financial year will see tax breaks for small businesses and top income earners, while energy and gas prices are set to rise around the country.

The first of the month will pinch the hip pockets of some Sunday workers, while tax breaks will take effect for small businesses and those in the top tax bracket.

Electricity bills will rise around the country this financial year by as much as 15 to 20 per cent in some states.

Howard Wu, the manager of a Chinese restaurant in Canberra, told SBS World News his business already racks up big bills powering its fish tanks, heating and food refrigeration.

“It’s very difficult to maintain profit if the price continues to go up,” he said.

Australia's biggest energy companies, including AGL, Origin and Energy Australia, have all revealed significant price hikes in recent weeks.

The biggest rises for homes and businesses will be in New South Wales, South Australia and the ACT, with the average Adelaide business to pay an extra $1,500 over the next 12 months.

Energy providers are blaming recent closures of coal-fired power stations and increased demand for gas.

But Energy Networks Australia CEO John Bradley said customers can lessen the impact by shopping around for the best deal.

"This will be a real impact on customers that are just sitting there accepting their current retailer's price increases,” Mr Bradley said.

“But if customers are shopping around and looking for the best deal, figures indicate they could be saving between $200 to up to $600, depending on where they live."

Depending on who you are, the amount of tax you pay could change tomorrow.

Those in the top tax bracket earning more than $180,000 a year will get a tax cut, as they no longer need to pay the two per cent budget repair levy.

Small businesses will also start to benefit from a tax break that will phase in gradually.

Online shoppers, though, will be slugged with the so-called Netflix Tax, which applies to digital products and services bought from overseas, including streaming services, video games and software.

Workers in the fast food, hospitality, retail and pharmacy who are covered by industry awards will be affected by cuts to Sunday penalty rates that will gradually phase in from tomorrow.

Labor leader Bill Shorten said it was unfair that high income earners will pay less tax while some weekend casuals take a pay cut.

"Tomorrow is a dark day for Australia's work force,” Mr Shorten told reporters in Brisbane.

“Peoples' penalty rates are getting cut. All Malcolm Turnbull wants to do is give large corporations a tax cut and look after his mates, the millionaires.”

However, the country's lowest paid workers will see a slight increase in the minimum wage, working out to about $20 extra each week.

At the other end of the spectrum, there's a two per cent payrise for politicians - with Malcolm Turnbull's salary to rise by around $10,000.

The government's new tax on the five biggest banks – Westpac, NAB, Commonwealth, ANZ and Macquarie – will also come into effect, and some banking chiefs have warned the cost will be passed on to customers and shareholders.

There are changes to superannuation too, including an $80,000 reduction in the cap on after-tax contributions, while high-income earners will be affected by a new $1.6 million dollar cap on tax-free pension phase super accounts.

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