Money for Mandurah roads in budget

THE City of Mandurah will receive $520,000 in the new Federal Budget to maintain and upgrade local roads.

The Gillard government has dumped the baby bonus in the 2013/14 budge and replaced it with a less generous scheme, which is expected to affect many Peel families.

Fewer stay-at-home mothers will now qualify for a lump-sum payment on the birth or adoption of a child and those that do qualify will receive thousands of dollars less.

The baby bonus will be replaced by a one-off increase in Family Tax Benefit Part A, but now $2000 will be paid for the birth or adoption of a first child or each child in multiple births and $1000 for second or subsequent children.

The threshold at which families qualify for the baby bonus will drop considerably. Under the new scheme couples earning over $101,000 will not be eligible for a payment for their first baby.

The threshold for a second baby will be about $112,000.

Government assistance to families to help them with the soaring cost of childcare will top $25billion over the next four years.

However the government has rejected calls from the childcare industry to do more to simplify the way assistance payments are made to families.

The government has decided to continue the freeze on the indexation of the childcare rebate, which means the maximum amount that can be claimed for each child each year will remain $7500.

Unemployed people will be able to earn an extra $19 a week before their welfare payments are reduced, as part of the government's attempt to appease those calling for an overhaul of the welfare system.

As had been hinted in the lead-up to the budget, the government chose to increase the amount of money people on some welfare payments can earn – from $62 a fortnight to $100 a fortnight – instead of increasing the base rate of payments.

Smokers too are to be slugged by higher costs per packet when the federal excise and customs duty is pegged to average weekly ordinary time earnings rather than inflation.

Faced with an expected $60billion shortfall in revenue over four years to2015/16, the budget confirms billions in new spending on popular disability insurance and education reforms and sets out $24billion in infrastructure projects – although not all of that represents new spending.

But it carries the political risk that its tiny projected surplus in year three will not be believed by voters and that its savings will be seen as harsh on business and on middle-income households.

In a surprise to markets and economic commentators, even after being softened up with pre-budget warnings of a current $17billion revenue write-down, treasurer Wayne Swan has revealed a fiscal shortfall for 2012/13 of $19.4billion  in place of what was forecast to be a budget surplus of $1.1billion.

Source: Mandurah Mail