Business Spectator's wrap-up of budget leaks

A quick list of everything we know so far about Tuesday's budget.

Here is what we know so far about likely budget recommendations, based on media reports.


Retirement age

The age pension will be scaled back by keeping Australians at work until they are 70. The change - to take effect in 2035 - has been locked in to the federal budget and will raise the pension age for all Australians currently aged under 50.

Treasurer Joe Hockey said the reform would take effect “in 21 years’ time” and insisted there would be no change to the pension in the current term of parliament.

Read more:
Pension age to rise to 70 in 2035 - The Australian.

Paid parental leave

The scheme will be implemented in July 2015 and the threshold will be cut from $150,000 to $100,000, to bring it in line with Abbott’s new welfare limit. The cost of the scheme is estimated to be $5.5 billion.

Read more:
Parental scheme remains in doubt - Business Spectator


The Clean Energy Finance Corporation is to be abolished, but should not be confused with the Clean Energy Regulator. Also, the Renewable Energy Target scheme is to stay.

Read more:
Audit says slash clean energy regulator - Business Spectator

Infrastructure spending with states

A deal that the federal government would top up any money the states raise through privatisations that will be recycled into new infrastructure, with an extra 15 per cent. The rumoured cost estimate is $10 billion.

Read more:
Healthcare and infrastructure spending tearing the budget apart - The Australian

Lower company tax rate

The company tax rate will be cut from the from current 30 per cent to 28.5 per cent. The cost to the budget is estimated at a total of $4 billion.

Read more:
PM protects company tax cut - Business Spectator


Debt levy

A five-year 1 per cent income tax hike on Australians earning over $150,000 would affect 7 per cent of taxpayers or around 650,000 people. It is expected to raise $700 million a year. Current top income tax rate is 45c in the dollar over $180,000 (for 2013-14) plus medicare levy of 1.5 per cent.

A worker earning $200,000 will be hit with an extra $500 a year or $9.60 a week.

A worker earning $400,000 will pay $2500 extra tax, or $48 more a week.

Read more:
Debt levy makes sense: Deloitte - Business Spectator
Costello warns against debt levy - Business Spectator


Privatisation of Medibank Private and potential privatisation of Australia Post. Combined with sale of other Commonwealth and state assets, could reap up to several billion dollars.

Following on from other recommendations from the Commission of Audit, the government will also look to privatise more government assets including the Australian Mint and Defence Housing Australia (DHA).

Read more:
Audit urges Australia Post, NBN sale -  Business Spectator
Axe to fall on 70 federal agencies – The Australian

Unemployment benefits

The work-for-the-dole scheme to be built back up over several years, and tighter rules will be implemented for benefits for under-30s.

Read more:
Government to expand work for the dole: Report - Business Spectator

Learn or Earn

New “learn or earn” rules that will deprive all people younger than 25 from receiving the general unemployment payment and push them onto the lower-paying Youth Allowance.

Read more:
No dole before 25, youth will have to earn or learn - The Australian.

NDIS changes

The government has repeatedly expressed concerns about the way the NDIS has been set up and its funding.

Mr Hockey said "If we don't get on top of the proper management of the NDIS, not only would it not be sustainable, but it could end up as big a farce as the pink batts program or the $900 test program.”

Read more:
Joe Hockey reveals aged pension, Medicare, NDIS costs to rise rapidly according to Commission of Audit report - The Australian

Medicare and GP visits

Medicare in its present incarnation would cease, with bulk billing scrapped and those earning over $88,000 denied benefits.

Families and general consumers would pay $6 or $7.50 to see a doctor, have a blood test or x-ray.

Read more:
$6 hit for bulk-bill GP visits in budget - The Australian

Government agencies

Up to 70 government agencies, including the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the National Water Commission are set to be chopped, in a move that will save $470 million over two years.

Other agencies, like the National Gallery and the National Library will be expected to streamline and combine their backend operations. 

Read more:
Axe to fall on 70 federal agencies – The Australian

Public sector job cuts

The Australian Tax Office is tipped shed up to 3000 jobs between now and October as part of the Abbott government plan to reduce the size of the public service.

Read more:
Joe Hockey swings the axe on the public sector – The Australian

MP wage freeze

The wages of senior public servants, heads of government and politicians will be frozen for one year.

Without the freeze, federal MPs were in line for a pay rise that could have given them 10 times the amount they paid under the deficit levy.

Read more:
Tony Abbott puts the freeze on MPs pay rise – The Australian

Fewer benefits for retired politicians

Introduction of a public benefit test, no more spousal travel, limit on the number of trips ex-MPs can take.

Read more:
Razor gang cuts the pollies gold pass - The Australian

Australia Network

The ABC’s Australian Network will be cut, saving the budget around $233 million.

Read more:
$233 million Australia Network to be axed in budget – The Australian

Screen Australia funding

Government anticipated to halve the funding for Screen Australia, merging it with Australian Council for the Arts.

Read more:
Screen Australia cuts would ‘decimate’ film industry, says Emile Sherman - The Australian


Hundreds of civilian job cuts in the Defence Department, and the closure of the Military Superannuation and Benefits Scheme. The plan will save billions over the long term but cost the budget about $400 million in the first four years alone, because the government must start making contributions to a new standard accumulation scheme for the military.

Read more:
Military super to get the boot - Business Spectator

Fuel excise

The fuel excise could be raised by 3 cents a litre. The excise has stood at 38.1 cents per litre since the Howard government scrapped indexation again the consumer price index. The measure is expected to raise $1 billion per year.

Treasurer Joe Hockey says that if the government raises the excise, the $3 billion it is expected to raise from the tax will be put towards road projects.

Read more:
Deficit levy locked in, fuel excise rise in frame - The Australian

Ethanol subsidy cut

The $150 million annual subsidy to ethanol producers is set to be scrapped but a compromise has been struck to protect the local product in the aftermath by making it permanently cheaper than imports.

Read more:
Ethanol production subsidy to be scrapped - Business Spectator

Have we missed anything? Leave us a comment with a link and we’ll add it into the list.

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