Key Government measures coming into effect on 1 July 2019 will help Australian families with the cost of living by forging ahead with low and middle income tax relief, safeguarding superannuation savings, and ensuring multinationals pay their fair share of tax. These measures are part of the Government’s plan for a stronger economy and securing a better future for all Australians. Tax relief The Government passed its Personal Income Tax Plan announced in the 2018-19 budget last year, ensuring that Australians pay lower taxes. Low and middle income earners will receive a benefit when they lodge returns from 1 July 2019, with millions more to benefit over the next decade. Under the already legislated part of the plan, the low and middle income tax offset will provide tax relief of up to $530 every year from 2018-19 to 2021-22. It is projected that the offset will assist more than 10 million Australians with around 4.5 million people receiving the full $530 benefit for 2018-19. In the 2019-20 Budget, the Government announced additional tax relief to ensure that hard-working Australians are rewarded for their effort. Legislating the additional tax relief is our first priority when Parliament resumes this week and will see the offset increase from $530 to $1,080. Superannuation changes The Protecting Your Superannuation package will safeguard Australians’ superannuation savings from excessive fees, unnecessary insurance and the costs of inadvertently holding multiple superannuation accounts. New legislation starting on 1 July caps certain fees on balances less than $6,000 and bans exit fees, so members can switch funds, if they choose to, without penalty. It also makes insurance opt-in for inactive accounts, and empowers the Australian Taxation Office to automatically consolidate inactive low-balance accounts with people’s currently active accounts. Ensuring big business and multinationals pay their fair share of tax From 1 July, a package of new measures to protect the integrity of Australia’s corporate tax system will tighten the rules on stapled structures and similar arrangements to ensure foreign investors pay their fair share. A special rate will continue to be available for affordable housing, disability housing, and student accommodation to encourage investment in this housing. As announced in the 2019-20 Budget, the Government will provide $1 billion over four years from 2019-20 to the Australian Taxation Office to extend the operation of the Tax Avoidance Taskforce for four years, with a focus on Multinationals. This is estimated to raise a further $4.6 billion in tax liabilities over the next four years. From 1 July 2019, the Government will also provide $42.1 million over four years to the ATO to increase activities to recover unpaid tax and superannuation liabilities, including from large corporate entities and high wealth individuals. Improving access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme From 1 July, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will be fully available in Victoria, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. The NDIS is already accessible in New South Wales and South Australia. This continued rollout of services means more people with a permanent and significant disability will be able to access the support they need. Increasing the Medicare rebate The Government is increasing the patient rebate for further general practitioner (GP) items on the Medicare Benefits Schedule from 1 July. Specialist procedures, allied health services, other GP services, such as mental health and after hours services, will also be indexed from 1 July 2019. Improving the quality of aged care A new single set of Aged Care Quality Standards will start from 1 July to ensure aged care providers are clearly accountable for consumers’ safety and quality of care. From 1 July, the National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program is mandatory for all Commonwealth subsidised residential aged care services. Providers must collect and provide quality indicator data to the Department of Health against the following quality indicators: pressure injuries; use of physical restraint; and unplanned weight loss. Additional Identified Skills Shortage (AISS) apprenticeship payment The Government will provide $156.3 million over four years from 1 July to introduce an Additional Identified Skills Shortage Payment that will encourage up to 80,000 new apprentices to enter occupations facing skill shortages over the next five years. Default Market Offer From 1 July, Australian families will get a better deal on standing electricity offers in New South Wales, South Australia and South East Queensland. Under the Default Market Offer (DMO), set by the Australian Energy Regulator, standing offer prices will be capped. This will act as a price safety net, ensuring that consumers who do not shop around are not paying excessive prices for electricity. Depending on the region, the AEMC has found that an average residential consumer on the median standing offer can save up to $760 by switching to the best market offer. The DMO will also act as a common reference point for all electricity offers. This will put an end to confusing and misleading discounting practices, making it easier for consumers to compare electricity offers and identify the best deal.