Happy New Year – And with Day One of 2019 there comes a raft of changes to welfare, health, education and many other living expenses.
From today the Federal Circuit Court and the Family Court of Australia will be amalgamated to form the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (‘FCFCA’). All family law matters will be heard by the FCFCA which will operate through two divisions.
Feminine hygiene products will be exempted from the 10 per cent GST chnagre from today.
All student income support recipients will be automatically issued with a Health Care Card to get cheaper medicines and some discounts.
The cost of a script will increase to $40.30 — up from $39.50 — with concession patients hit with a 10 cent rise per prescription.
A pill to treat multiple sclerosis called Mavenclad will be added to the PBS from today and the first medicine to effectively treat the life-threatening genetic condition known as Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) will be listed on the PBS from today.
PASSPORT FEE HIKES
From today passport fees will increase.
- *A 10-year passport for persons aged 16 and over will be $293
- *A 5-year passport for children under 16 years and persons aged 75 and over will cost $148
- *An emergency passport overseas will cost $184
- *A replacement passport will add up to $184
- *A priority processing fee will be $215
- *An adult overseas surcharge will cost $132, and a child overseas surcharge will be $64
Students who are in secondary school and study away from home may be entitled to an ABSTUDY Living Allowance payment increase.
More changes are coming for some independent students on Youth Allowance and ABSTUDY students in regional and remote areas. The parental income limit for students these areas will increase from $150,000 to $160,000. The parental income limit will increase by $10,000 for each additional child in a family who is younger than 22.
Students who get the ABSTUDY Fares Allowance may get to travel to places besides school and home that are on the usual travel route, and get reduced penalties for missed travel without a valid reason The FEE-HELP loan cap for students studying medicine, dentistry and veterinary science courses will increase from an estimated $130,552 in 2019 to a new limit of $150,000.
Students studying all other courses will have a loan limit of $104,440. These amounts will still be indexed annually.
The 25 per cent FEE-HELP loan fee will be abolished for domestic undergraduate students at Bond University and other ‘Table B Providers’ including Torrens University, Notre Dame University, and the University of Divinity.
The In Home Care (IHC) Family Hourly Rate Cap will increase to $32 and the number of IHC places will also increase to 3200.
The National Australia Bank will reintroduce $2 ATM fees at over 3000 machines around the country from today.
When applying for a new credit card or requesting a credit limit increase, the card issuer must assess your application based on your ability to repay the entire credit limit within a three-year period.
Credit issuers must give customers the option to cancel their accounts or reduce their credit limits online. When a customer makes a request, the credit issuer must take reasonable steps to help the customer.
Banks and credit card providers cannot retroactively charge interest on credit card balances, which will affect the number of interest-free days many offer.
A new Temporary Sponsored Parent visa that will provide parents and grandparents a new pathway to reunite with their families for a continuous period of up to five years from this year.
TPP TARIFF CUTS
Businesses and farmers are set to benefit from two tariff cuts within three days, under the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. The agreement provides new access to the Canadian market for Australian grains, sugar and beef exporters. It will also open up the growing Mexican market for pork, wheat, sugar, barley and horticulture producers, and improves Australia’s market access into Japan for beef, wheat, barley and dairy exporters.
FOREIGN DONATION BAN
A law banning political parties from receiving $1000 or more from foreign donors from the Australian Electoral Commission will take effect on January 1. The law also prohibits foreign governments and state-owned enterprises from making gifts worth $100 or more to political parties and campaigners if the gift is being used for electoral purposes. Other third party political actors will also be prohibited from using donations worth $13,800 or more from foreign sources to fund electoral expenditure.
Changes to Australia’s copyright duration laws will come into effect today and will inclue new standard terms of copyright protection to a range of copyright materials including literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, sound recordings, films and Crown copyright materials.
POINT OF CONSUMPTION TAX
This tax will see online and foreign-owned corporate bookmakers pay 15 per cent on profits from bets made in WA, regardless of where they are licensed. The local racing industry will then receive 30 per cent of the total revenue. It also applies in NSW, where the Government will introduce a 10 per cent tax on all wagers placed by NSW residents, regardless of the location of the wagering operator, closing a current loophole in wagering laws. It will capture some of growth in phone and online gambling in recent years — which has previously gone untaxed in NSW.
South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland, Victoria, and the ACT have either introduced or have committed to implementing PoC taxes.
In Queensland net, line and crab fishing vessels need to have tracking units installed as part of a sustainable fisheries strategy plan from today.
From January 1, electrical installation work in Queensland will need to comply with new wiring rules.
In Brisbane, the Gateway Motorway, Logan Motorway, Legacy Way, Go Between Bridge, Airportlink and Clem7 will remains the same. But tolls on the AirportlinkM7 will increase by 10 cents.