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Fed: Nose to the grindstone to work the nation out of debt

12 May 2009 7:32 PM

Australians will be working harder .. for longer .. to get the nation out of debt.

At nearly 58 billion dollars for the 2009/10 financial year .. the deficit's better than some predicted .. and we won't be back in the black until 2015.

Unemployment's predicted to be 8.25 per cent in 2009/10 .. rising to 8.5 per cent the next year before dropping .. but inflation looks to be pegging along at less than 2 per cent for the next couple of years.

First home buyers can draw a breath .. the boost is hanging around for another six months.

However it'll be halved from 1 October .. meaning for its last 3 months those buying established homes will get 10 thousand 500 dollars .. while new home buyers get 14-thousand.

Small businesses are being urged to spend big with the extension of a tax break on new assets .. coming out from 30 per cent to 50 per cent for assets ordered up to 31 December and installed by the end of 2010.

Pensioners are getting the money they've been screaming for .. with the single aged pension going up 32-dollars a week .. while couples get a 10-dollar per week increase .. but the rate at which the pension's withdrawn is being increased .. from 40 to 50 cents for each dollar of private income.

Gen-Xers and baby boomers born after 1956 are seeing the pension age push further away .. with the retirement age rising to 67 by 2023.

The cap on concessional super benefits drops from 50 to 25-thousand dollars for the under-50s .. and from 100-thousand to 50-thousand dollars for those aged 50 and over.

Private health insurance rebates will now taper off for those earning more than 70-thousand dollars a year for singles .. 150-thousand for families .. cutting out altogether for those earning more than 120-thousand dollars per year for singles and 240-thousand for families.

The Medicare Levy Surcharge will also rise to 1.25 per cent for those earning more than 90-thousand a year for singles .. 180-thousand for families .. and to 1.5 per cent for those earning more than 120-thousand dollars per year for singles and 240-thousand for families.

In a move sure to raise some ire .. women contemplating IVF only have until the end of 2009 before the amounts they can claim on the Medicare Safety Net are capped.

That's along with other treatments the government's decided have excessive fees .. including hair transplants and surgery for varicose veins.

University students will be getting some hip-pocket help .. by raising the Parental Income test .. introducing a Student Start-up Scholarship worth more than two thousand dollars .. and reducing the age at which students can be classified as independent from 25 to 22 years.

The budget's also delivering 4.5 billion dollars to the government's Clean Energy Initiative .. the bulk of which is to be spent on clean coal and carbon capture initiatives .. but there's also 1.5 billion to fund up to four major solar energy projects.

AAP RTV tm/jlw