Our Plan

Issue 07

Help with the Cost of Living

ACCESSIBLE, AFFORDABLE CHILD CARE

Affordable and accessible child care is critical to supporting parents who are balancing work and family responsibilities.

The Coalition Government has made the most significant reforms to the system in 40 years. Our New Child Care Package is unashamedly targeted at supporting parents who access child care to work or work more, train, study or volunteer.

From July 2018, we will remove the $7,613 annual rebate cap for families on incomes up to around $185,000 - that’s 85 percent of families using child care. Families earning more than around $185,000 will also benefit from an increased cap of $10,000.

We’re increasing the Child Care Subsidy from around 72% to 85% for more than 370,000 families earning around $65,000 or less. The Child Care Subsidy will then taper down to 20 percent for families on $340,000 and cut out after $350,000.

Almost one million families will benefit. For example:

  • A family on $50,000 - both parents or a single parent working, with two children under 6 in long day care three days a week at $100 a day - will be more than $3,000 a year better off.
  • A family on $80,000 - both parents or a single parent working full time, with two children under 6 in long day care five days a week at $100 a day - will be over $8,000 a year better off.
  • A family on $94,000 - both parents or a single parent working, with two children under 6 in long day care two days a week at $100 a day - will be around $1,500 a year better off.
  • A family on $150,000 – both parents or a single parent working, with two children under 6 in long day care three days a week at $100 a day - will be around $1,000 a year better off.

It is estimated more than 230,000 families will increase their involvement in the workforce as a result of our reforms.

MORE AFFORDABLE, RELIABLE ELECTRICITY

During six years of Labor government, electricity prices doubled. Federal and State Labor policies have continued to increase pressure on prices, through: shortages in gas supply; unrealistic renewable energy targets; and open hostility to reliable baseload coal power.

We’re fixing this mess.

By ending subsidies, creating a level playing field, providing certainty for investors and reducing volatility (by ensuring reliable energy sources which provide power when it’s needed), our new National Energy Guarantee will cut prices.

Our National Energy Guarantee will result in lower residential bills of around $120 a year over a decade.

This is in stark contrast to Labor’s plan to replicate South Australia’s 50% renewable energy target, which will mean more subsidies and, therefore, higher prices.

We’re also increasing transparency to help customers get better deals. Companies will now be required to inform customers when their discount benefits cease. Around 2 million families are receiving letters telling them they are not on the best plan. Companies are now required to develop simple fact sheets with understandable comparisons.

We’re also putting downward pressure on bills by tackling network costs. The Limited Merits Review process, which allowed energy networks to appeal decisions of the Australian Energy Regulator, has been abolished. Previously, networks have used these appeals to add $6.5 billion to electricity bills.

And we’re putting downward pressure on gas prices, by securing more gas for Australians, through the Australian Domestic Gas Security Mechanism which gives Australian customers priority access to gas before it is exported. We have secured agreement from gas producers to cover projected shortfalls of up to 107 petajoules over the next two years.

REDUCING TAXES

We’ve cut taxes for 3.2 million small businesses and reduced income taxes for 500,000 middle income Australians. We will fight Labor’s plan for $200 billion in new and increased taxes – on electricity, small and family businesses, incomes, homes, savings, investments and retirement.

BETTER HEALTH CARE AND GUARANTEEING MEDICARE

Under the Coalition more Australians are seeing their doctor without having to pay.

The GP bulk billing rate (as at December 2017) is 85.8% - up from 81.9% in Labor’s last year.

Since coming into Government, the Coalition has listed over 1,500 new and amended medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme worth $7.5 billion. We have listed medicines for cancer, heart disease, cystic fibrosis, and a cure for Hepatitis C. Medicines that were previously unaffordable for many are now available for $6.30 (concessional) or $38.80 (general patients) per script.

Our Medicare Guarantee Act has guaranteed Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme with legislation. It also established the Medicare Guarantee Fund to ensure funding.

IMPROVING PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE

For the 13 million Australians who rely on private health insurance, we have taken steps to make private health insurance more affordable and easier to understand. This includes requiring insurers to categorise products as: gold; silver; bronze; basic, and use standardised definitions to make it clear what’s covered and what isn’t.

Under our reforms: private insurers are now allowed to discount premiums for 18 to 29 year olds by up to 10 percent; insurers will be able to offer travel and accommodation benefits for treatment for people in regional and rural areas; and policy holders will have better cover for mental health – by being able to upgrade cover without a waiting period.

By improving private health insurance and encouraging take up, we are helping to take pressure off the system, which in turn means less upward pressure on the cost of cover.

Our focus is to keep premium rises as low as possible. This year, premiums increased by 3.95%. This was the lowest premium rise in 17 years and lower than any year under the previous Labor Government.

BANNING EXCESS CREDIT CARD SURCHARGES

We’ve banned excessive credit card surcharges. This means businesses can now only surcharge what it actually costs them to process card payments.

REDUCING PRESSURE ON HOUSING AFFORDABILITY

There are no silver bullets to make housing more affordable. By adopting a comprehensive approach, we can make a difference.

To help create more housing supply, we are:

  • Replacing the National Affordable Housing Agreement that provides $1.3 billion every year to the States and Territories, with a new set of agreements, requiring them to deliver on housing supply targets.
  • Establishing a $1 billion National Housing Infrastructure Facility, to fund City Deals that remove infrastructure impediments to developing new homes.
  • Creating an online Commonwealth land registry detailing sites that can be made available for residential development.
  • Establishing a new National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation to provide long-term, low-cost finance to support more affordable rental housing.
  • Allowing Managed Investment Trusts to be used to develop and own affordable housing.
  • Providing investors in affordable housing with greater income certainty by enabling direct deduction of welfare payments from tenants, and increasing the capital gains tax discount to 60 per cent for investments in affordable housing.

To help first home buyers, we are providing a tax cut on their home deposit savings.

Our First Home Super Savers Accounts will let first home buyers save at least 30% faster than they can currently – saving for a deposit by salary sacrificing into their superannuation account (over and above their compulsory superannuation contribution).

Up to $30,000 per person (and $15,000 per year) in home deposit savings now get the benefits of superannuation – that is, taxed at 15 percent, rather than marginal rates, and withdrawals taxed at their marginal rate, less 30 percentage points.

Savers won’t have to set up another account – they can just use their existing super account and decide how much of their income they want to put aside for their home deposit.

To help older Australians (over 65) who want to downsize, we are now enabling them to make a non-concessional contribution of up to $300,000 into their superannuation fund from the proceeds of the sale of their principal home. Providing this financial benefit for older Australians who want to downsize will in turn help to free up housing for those who are looking for a larger home for a family.

We will fight Labor’s plan to punish mum and dad investors who use negative gearing, because this supports the supply of rental housing, placing downward pressure on rents. Labor’s plan to abolish negative gearing will increase rents.

Information current as at March 2018