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Young Workers Centre YWC
News from young workers

What does the Federal budget mean for young workers?

Want to know what the fuss is all about? We’ve got the headlines for you.

Work for the Dole 2.0

Getting a job can be tough.  Whether you have a job or not, the news from last night’s Federal budget is grim for young people.

The Federal government has announced they’ll be asking job seekers to undertake an “internship”. This “internship” will see young people working 15 to 25 hours weeks for up to 12 weeks in exchange for an extra $200 per fortnight – or about $4 per hour.  The minimum wage in Australia is $17.29 per hour, so that’s effectively a wage cut of $13.29 per hour, every hour, every week, for 3 months. In real terms, we’re talking employers being able to avoid paying young workers nearly $4000 over this period by telling the Government that they have a vacancy for an intern.

Businesses will also receive a $1000 bonus for each intern they take on. This is clearly a policy which will allow businesses to make a profit off disadvantaged young workers by burning and churning through interns every 12 weeks.

If you could be replaced with someone who works for $4, why would any business keep you on? Say no, sign our petition and get involved in the campaign here.


Healthcare is going to become harder for young people to access – a freeze on the Medicare rebate means that despite many GP fees rising with inflation (as everything does!), the government’s co-contribution is going to stay the same. That means you’ll be out of pocket more if you visit a GP who doesn’t bulk bill and acts as a disincentive for GPs to keep bulk-billing and keep healthcare affordable. 

Google and co might pay their fair share in taxes

The Australian Tax Office is set to receive 390 new staff that would be part of a 1300-strong "tax avoidance taskforce".  They’ll be investigating tax compliance by multinational companies (like Google) that operate in Australia and currently pay little to no tax.  This is a good start to a huge problem, but we think more could be done. 

Higher education

We don’t have clear news on $100,000 degrees, but we do have news on possible changes to HECS repayments. The Government is proposing:

  • recovering HECS payments from dead graduates
  • tying loan repayments to household income (rather than individual)
  • Lowering the minimum repayment threshold
  • Charging commercial interest rates

Online shopping just got more expensive

If you’re an online shopper, your overseas purchases will be 10% more expensive.  Overseas purchases under $1000 have historically been exempt from the GST, because it would cost the government more to collect the tax than the tax itself collects. This one was a win for Australian business but a loss for Australian consumers.

Passports will cost you $20 more

The cost of overseas travel passports will rise by $20. Getting your first passport?  Need to renew? Get in quick before prices rise on Jan 1 2017.

Backpackers set to be taxed out of the country

Backpackers coming to Australia are set to pay 32.5 cents on every dollar earned in Australia from July 1, unless there’s intervention ASAP. That’s a third of any income they make! Backpackers are some of the most exploited workers in Australia already, and we’re pretty worried this will lead to more work off-the-books and more exploitation. It’s been a controversial move, so there may be backlash on this very live issue.

Good news for PT users

Victoria will receive the expected $857 million to help build Melbourne Metro.

Housing still out of reach

There’s been a lot of talk about how schemes like negative gearing are locking young people out of the housing market and driving up rents.  The budget took no action to make housing more affordable, which is a real missed opportunity.