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Women of Influence 2014 Federal Budget dinner

23 May 2014


On Tuesday May 13, Ruby hosted a table of 10 women - many of them from our Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence alumni – at a dinner in Sydney to hear the Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey deliver his first budget and Westpac Chief Economist Bill Evans gives his take on it and its implications.

In a sea of suits the Ruby table was a welcome reprieve of colour and diversity.

A straw poll around our table proved very similar to the way things have played out in the media since the announcements: the responses from the women ranged from critical to cautiously optimistic.

For example: it was noted that the planned investment in infrastructure, such as transport, centred heavily on roads and airlines and seemed to forgo public transport and getting people off the roads.

The medical research announcement was greeted with cautious optimism but many wondered why other forms of R&D had been left wallowing.

Overall our guests thought the budget announcements were very light on detail and big on rhetoric.

A summary of some of the major budget announcements is here. The announcements in the Federal Budget are not yet legislated. If you are unsure about how you may be affected, talk to an expert.

1. A new levy for high income earners

Proposed from 1 July 2014 (for a period of 3 years) – affects people who earn over $180,000

People earning above $180,000 will pay an extra 2% levy on all income in excess of $180,000. This levy will continue for three years starting 1 July 2014. 

For example, someone earning $230,000 will pay an additional 2% on $50,000 – a total levy of $1,000.

2. A reduction to the company tax rate

Proposed from 1 July 2015 – affects businesses and all individuals

The company tax rate will be reduced by 1.5% (i.e. from 30% to 28.5%) from 1 July 2015.

For large companies, this will offset the cost of the Government’s Paid Parental Leave Levy. For the SMEs it will provide a boost to profits.

3. A new $7 charge for standard GP consultations

Proposed from 1 July 2015 – affects all individuals

From 1 July 2015, previously bulk-billed patients can expect a charge of $7 per visit towards the cost of standard GP consultations and out-of-hospital pathology and imaging services. 

For concessional patients and children under 16 years, the contribution will be limited to the first 10 visits each calendar year.

4. Changes to higher education

To apply from 1 July 2014 (for TAFE students) and 1 July 2016 (for university students)

From 1 July 2014, a tertiary loan system will be extended to TAFE students, who will have access to 4-year concessional trade support loans.

From 1 January 2016, the Government will deregulate the higher education sector, which will allow higher education providers in Australia to set their own tuition fees. This is likely to increase the cost of education in Australia.

5. A slower-than-expected increase to SG rates

Proposed from 1 July 2014 – affects all employers and employees

As announced in last year’s budget, the Super Guarantee (SG) rate will rise to 9.5% from 1 July 2014. However, it will stay at that level until 30 June 2018. The SG rate will then increase by 0.5% each year from 1 July 2018 until it reaches 12% in the 2022/23 financial year.