Wayne Swan’s no-frills home brand budget still manages to cram in a smattering of new spending initiatives, but just three that differed in any way from what had previously been leaked.
Vague allusions in this morning’s papers to increases to family payments were fleshed out in the budget, with $600 increases to the rate of Family Tax Benefit A for those on the current maximum rate and $200 for those on the base rate at a cost of $1.8 billion over the forward estimates. Unfortunately families close to the wall will have to wait well over a year for the money to appear in their streamline accounts.
Another new semi-splurge came in the form of $1 billion in “supplementary” extra cash for income support payments like Newstart and Youth Allowance that effective add another week of cash to the a dreary year of welfare dependency. The Greens, and others including some in Labor ranks, who have been pushing for an increase in Newstart for years won’t be satisfied.
Crucial detail was filled in on the $1 billion National Disability Insurance Scheme, which included $342.5 million over three years for the individual disabled, $154.8 million for local area co-ordinators, $60 million to help assess the needs of people with a disability, and $122.6 million to prepare the sector for the massive changes afoot, $240 million for related IT measures.
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SBS has pushing for extra funding to stop it failing, and this year the multicultural broadcaster got lucky with an extra $158.1 million over five years, part of which will be spent on a new indigenous FTA TV channel.
- The dental measures were confirmed — the government is ploughing in $515.3 million “for those who can least afford it”, $346 million of which will address workforce problems
- The $3.7 billion aged care package (which doesn’t kick off until 2014)
- The small business “carry back” worth up to $300 million to offset tax paid in previous years
- Anthony Albanese’s infrastructure spending on the Pacific Highway ($2.7 billion over four years), Roads to Recovery ($700 million), the Moorebank freight terminal ($358 million), the Goodwood and Torres junctions ($232.1 million) and the Black Spots initiative ($120 million)
- Skills reform will continue via a $1.75 billion agreement with the states and a further $100 million in related quality measures.