Budget brings living cost relief

Budget brings living cost relief

Limestone Coast residents are set to receive a rebate on their electricity bills, following the Federal Government handing down its budget on Tuesday night.

Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers announced that every household will receive a $300 rebate on their electricity bills from July 1, while one million small businesses will get a rebate of $325.

While the budget did not include any obvious big ticket items for the region, the government has announced a host of cost of living initiatives that will impact Limestone Coast residents.

From July, those who earn more than the $18,200 tax-free threshold per year will receive a tax cut.

The cuts have been estimated at between $800 and $3700 for those earning between $45,000 and $135,000 per year.

The government will also increase the maximum rate for low income households receiving the Commonwealth Rent Assistance payment, with the change to come in from September.

There will also be a freeze on increases to the maximum Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) co-payment, while social security deeming rates will also be frozen at their current levels until June 2025.

Following the release of the budget, the State Government welcomed a host of initiatives.

State Treasurer Stephen Mullighan said South Australians would receive significant cost of living relief in the Federal Budget which “also reinstates funding for road upgrades in the Adelaide Hills, and makes further investments in skills training for the housing construction and naval defence industries”.

“The previously-announced stage three tax cuts, delivering an average saving of nearly $1900 to each worker, are now joined by a $300 energy rebate, expected to benefit approximately 800,000 SA households,” he said.

Treasurer Mulligan said the government also welcomed a 10% increase in Commonwealth rent assistance; $3b to deliver cheaper medicines; the waiving of $3b in student loans under the Higher Education Loan Program providing debt relief for students; $2.8b to strengthen Medicare including $882.2m to support older Australians avoid hospital admission or be discharged from hospital earlier; and $1b in 2023-24 to fund urgent and significant enabling infrastructure to increase housing supply.

However, the budget was criticised by the RAA, which said it left South Australians “short-changed when it comes to new road and infrastructure funding – with no new commitment to progress key road and infrastructure priorities”.

RAA chief executive Nick Reade said this year’s budget did not include further funding to progress duplication of the National Highways in South Australia, including Augusta, Duke and Sturt Highways, nor motor tax reform to replace the fuel excise.

Mr Reade said these were vital infrastructure projects in need of federal funding to improve road safety and boost economic productivity.

“South Australia needs continued investment in other road infrastructure projects to help get our network up to speed, improve productivity and reduce road trauma,” he said.

“Duplicating our national highways is imperative if we are to reach the targets set out in both the national and state road safety strategies.”

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