It’s that special time of year again. The air is frosty and people come together, huddled around TV and computer screens screeching with displeasure. No ,I’m not talking about Christmas. That’s right – it’s Federal Budget time.
Struggling to get around the political spin of this year's budget? Then we’ve got your back! Here’s just some of the hidden gems that are going to hit young people the hardest.
Politicians just can’t seem to learn their lessons. Last time they tried to go after higher education in a budget, young people fought back hard and it ended in a resounding fail and a classic leadership #LibSpill.
ScoMo and his number 1 bro Simon Birmingham are going in for round 2 it seems. University students are staring down the barrel of a 1.8% increase in fees next years which is set to rise to 7.5% by 2022.
But that’s not all! Currently you don’t start paying off your HECS debt until you earn a touch over $55,000 a year. From July next year, you can expect to see those deductions cropping up in your payslips when you start earning $42,000 - or you know, just over $20 per hour if you're working full time.
Apparently ScoMo can’t tell the difference between dangerous drivers and unemployed workers. That’s probably why he’s introducing a demerit points for about 1.2 million Centrelink recipients.
For those on a Jobseeker payment, you can accumulate demerit points for any ‘infraction’ - think missing appointments, not looking for the right amount of jobs, or refusing to work unprotected and for free in the Work for the Dole program.
Penalties vary from 50% to 100% fortnightly payment ‘reductions’ Oh, and if you don’t accept the first job you’re offered, regardless of circumstance, you can kiss your social security payments goodbye for a month.
Centrelink Drug Testing
ScoMo also apparently thinks that those who use drugs or alcohol don’t need to pay for things in order to live their lives.
The Government wants to use ‘data-driven profiling tools’ as well as demographic information to select new Centrelink recipients for drug testing (yep, they’ve found a new way to profile already marginalised people, good stuff).
These drug tests can be conducted on hair, urine or saliva. They'll be on the look out for ecstasy, marijuana, and methamphetamine. Those who test positive will have their payments ‘quarantined’ for up to two years.
Superannuation and the Housing Affordability Crisis
Turns out smashed avo isn’t the cause of young people being locked out of the housing market - it's the fact that housing is really bloody expensive, particularly if you want or need to live in one of Australia's capital cities.
While it's great that the Government is acknowledging that we have a bit of a problem, giving young people the ability to save money for a housing deposit in the same way we save for our superannuation isn't necessarily the answer.
It won't do anything to bring down the astronomical cost of buying a house, and in order to take advantage of what's been dubbed the "First Home Super Savers Scheme", you have to be a young person with a decent amount spare cash lying around to pop into that account to really take advantage of it.
Points for trying, but we're still a long way off a real solution to the housing crisis.