“Budget 2017” or “How fucked are you? 2017 Edition”
WORDS BY BRENDAN O'SHEA
Last night the budget was released, but if you’re like many people you were distracted by either assignments, drinking in either celebration or sorrow thanks to France, or doing your best to avoid Eastern Avenue.
Now we got an early glimpse at what the budget would include the other week - uni students would be paying more for their student fees and have to repay their debt earlier, and something about a Gonski 2.0 (leading to some confused souls scratching their heads because, as the Education Revue once put it, we’re still waiting for Gonski 1.0).
We’re with you buddy, we’re with you.
But there’s no need for smoke and mirrors – the budget’s here.
So how exactly is this going to be affecting us; students, the next generation, millennials, those lazy welfare slobs who leech off good taxpayers to sit around learning something which will be useless when we’re working the deep fryer at McDonalds? Well, fortunately, the ABC has simplified things into “winners” and “losers”, which is Tony Abbott levels of nuance. So then, who are our winners and losers?
To start with, taxpayers will be paying an extra 0.5 per cent on their taxable income to fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme, or NDIS. So that means if you are a student and eligible for the NDIS, this could be of some benefit for you. According to the ATO you have to be earning over $18, 201 in order to pay any tax tho, so chances are if you’re a student 0.5% probably won’t affect you too badly.
That said tho students are set to see fees increase by 1.8% next year, and 7.5% by 2022. That’s… fucked? You have to be earning over $42K though before you have to pay back these fees (down from $55K, so now you’ll be earning LESS when you start paying off your now larger debt!). Talk about ruining things for the next generation I mean first being locked out of the Sydney property market and now having to pay off debts on a minimum wage budget A+ economics there ScoMo. (you can, however, use “voluntary contributions” to your super to save for a house deposit, but you can only contribute a max. of $15K per year & $30K all up).
If you’re a permanent Aussie resident OR a citizen of our favourite Kiwi Land (NZ), you no longer have Commonwealth supported places at uni. ScoMo says “soz, but Australia for Australians” (even as Treasurer, he hasn’t forgotten his days back as Minister against Immigrants).
ScoMo, a word which here means a smug, smug bastard
If you’re unemployed though, and need welfare? Make sure you’re not spending that money on drugs because you’ll have to undergo patented RANDOM DRUG TESTING TESTS which will involve scientific analysis of your bodily fluids and hair samples (sounds pretty invasive but ok) and if you test positive POOF buh-bye money. So uni kids, party less crazier. On the topic of drugs, “roll-you-own tobacco” and cigars will be taxed similarly to actual cigarettes. We’re unsure if this one’s targeting uni students or Joe Hockey tho.
Regular pharmaceutical drugs, though, will be cheaper and you should be paying less for hospital visits thanks to incentives to bulk bill and a lift on that Medicare rebate freeze.
In short, there’s more nuance to this budget than meets the eye - the Liberals don’t seem to be going after services which would also be of benefit for broader demographics, like Medicare or the NDIS, which is of benefit for those students who do require those services. However, it’s also clear that where university students don’t have protection in broad demographics (for example, student fees), they’re being asked to take on more of a burden.
It sorta makes you wonder if ScoMo realised it was uni students who, for the most part, don’t like him and is deliberately making it harder for there to be future generations of uni students. It’s almost like a… what’s a good word for it… demographic gerrymandering - cracking a demo who won’t vote for him in the hopes that less uni students will mean less questioning, engaged voters who’ll be writing up hot takes like this one here.