The problems that any Australian Government is expected to resolve and the wish list they are supposed to fulfil, is extensive regardless of which party is in power. As author John Lydgate wrote:
“You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”
This Budget delivers a series of measures to attempt to please as many people as possible. It tackles the issues currently in focus across the Australian community – gaps in healthcare, first home ownership, foreign workers, investment and bank accountability to name a few of the pressure points. It also delivers an economic ‘sugar hit’ in the form of $75 billion in infrastructure projects. Key measures include:
Extension of the $20,000 immediate deduction until 30 June 2018
Contractors in the courier and cleaning industries face greater compliance
Access to small business CGT concessions tightened
Banks slugged with ‘major bank levy’
Super concessions for over 65s to downsize – up to $300,000 per member
The ability for would-be first home owners to salary sacrifice into super to save a deposit
An array of housing affordability measures including: a CGT discount increase to 60% for investments in affordable housing, and Managed investment Trust investment opportunities in affordable housing.
Deductibility of investment property travel costs to end and restrictions on depreciation deductions
A series of restrictions on foreign property investments
Individuals & Families
Medicare levy increase to 2.5% from 1 July 2019.
Help with energy bills for some social security recipients
Demerit system for jobseekers
Overall the 2017-18 Budget will not offend anyone (except perhaps the banks) and there are plenty of give-aways. The only danger is the level of optimism in the economic projections in a climate of uncertainty.