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Individuals & Families

 

Child Care Subsidy increase:

As previously announced, the maximum Child Care Subsidy (CCS) rate will increase from 85% to 90% for families earning less than $80,000. Subsidy rates will then taper down one percentage point for each additional $5,000 in income until it reaches zero per cent for families earning $530,000.

The current higher CCS rates for families with multiple children aged 5 or under in child care will be maintained, with higher CCS rates to cease 26 weeks after the older child’s last session of care, or when the child turns 6 years old.

In addition, from 2022-23, a base entitlement to 36 hours per fortnight of subsidised early childhood education and care will be implemented for families with First Nations children, regardless of activity hours or income level.

The CCS increase also comes with a renewed focus on industry compliance requiring large providers to publicly report CCS related revenue and profits. In addition, the way the Child Care Subsidy is managed will change, requiring the electronic payment of early childhood education and care gap fees to weed out fraudulent claims for care not received.

 

Paid parental leave reforms:

As previously announced, from 1 July 2023 the Government will introduce reforms to make the Paid Parental Leave Scheme flexible for families so that either parent is able to claim the payment and both birth parents and non-birth parents are allowed to receive the payment if they meet the eligibility criteria. Parents will also be able to claim weeks of the payment concurrently so they can take leave at the same time.

Eligibility will also be expanded with the introduction of a $350,000 family income test, which families can be assessed under if they do not meet the individual income test.

From 1 July 2024, the Government will begin expanding the scheme from the current 18 weeks by two additional weeks a year until it reaches a full 26 weeks from 1 July 2026.

Both parents will be able to share the leave entitlement, with a proportion maintained on a “use it or lose it” basis, to encourage and facilitate both parents to access the scheme and to share the caring responsibilities more equally. Sole parents will be able to access the full 26 weeks.

Encouraging pensioners back into the workforce:

Age and veterans pensioners will be able to work and earn more before their pension is reduced. The Government is providing a one-off $4,000 credit to their Work Bonus income bank.

The temporary income bank top-up will increase the amount pensioners can earn in 2022–23 from $7,800 to $11,800, before their pension is reduced, supporting pensioners who want to work or work more hours to do so without losing their pension.

The Work Bonus increases the amount an eligible pensioner can earn from work before it affects their pension rate. Under the current rules, the first $300 of fortnightly income from work is not assessed and is not counted under the pension income test. The Work Bonus operates in addition to the pension income test free area.

When the work bonus is not used in a fortnight it accumulates in an income bank where the standard maximum is $7,800. This allows pensioners who work on an ad hoc basis to not be disadvantaged compared to those with regular fortnightly income.

Aged care reform:

As previously announced, $2.5bn will be provided over 4 years to improve the quality of aged care in residential aged care facilities by requiring all facilities to have a registered nurse onsite 24 hours per day, 7 days a week from 1 July 2023 and increasing care minutes to 215 minutes per resident per day from 1 October 2024.

The reforms also enable the Government to cap charges that approved providers of home care (home care providers) may charge care recipients and removes the ability of home care providers to charge exit amounts.

Additional funding for floods and natural disasters:

An additional $51.5m has been provided to support communities impacted by natural disasters through the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payments (AGDRP), Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA) and other payments made under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

Lifting the income limit on Seniors Health Card:

As previously announced, the income test limits will be increased for access to the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC). The CSHC provides subsidised pharmaceuticals and other medical benefits for self-funded retirees that have reached aged pension age.

The income test captures adjusted taxable income plus deeming on account-based pensions unless grandfathered under the pre-1 July 2015 rules. The CSHC is not asset tested.

Legislation enabling the increase is before Parliament.

The Government will also freeze social security deeming rates at their current levels for a further two years until 30 June 2024.

Income support asset test extended on proceeds of sale of main residence:

As previously announced, the Government is:

  • Extending the assets test exemption for principal home sale proceeds from 12 months to 24 months for income support recipients, and
  • Changing the income test, to apply only the lower deeming rate (0.25%) to principal home sale proceeds when calculating deemed income for 24 months after the sale of the principal home.

The exemptions apply until the income support recipient acquires another main residence or the 24-month period expires. The Bill enabling the extension is currently before Parliament.

Total and permanent incapacity payments to veterans:

The Special Rate of Disability Compensation Payment, Temporary Special Rate Payment, and the Special Rate Disability Pension for veterans will increase by $1,000 per year.

Community batteries for household solar:

The Government will provide $224.3m over 4 years from 2022-23 to deploy 400 community batteries across Australia.

A related solar initiative will see an additional $102m committed to establish a Community Solar Banks program for the deployment of community-scale solar and clean energy technologies. This initiative is aimed at regional communities, social housing, apartments, rental accommodation, and households that are traditionally unable to access rooftop solar.

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