Nick Bruining: Cash-strapped families to see cost-of-living relief from today

Headshot of Nick Bruining
Nick Bruining
The Nightly
Today marks the starting date for a number of changes that will assist struggling families.
Today marks the starting date for a number of changes that will assist struggling families. Credit: AntonioGuillem/Getty Images/iStockphoto

With a Federal Election in the air, it should come as no surprise that the Government is keen to see all Australians receive some form of pre-election sweetener during the next few months.

While there’s still a wad of cash allocated in May’s Federal Budget to “undisclosed items”, today marks the starting date for a number of changes that will assist struggling families.

One of them is the 3.75 per cent increase to the minimum wage to $24.10 per hour or $915.40 per week. Thanks to awards and other agreements in place, the increase will find its way through to many pay-packets beyond those on the minimum wage.

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Combined with the stage three tax cuts, and depending on how frequently you get paid, you’ll see your new take-home pay settle down over the next couple of weeks. That’s because some pay-cycles straddle the July 1 start date.

Thanks to indexation, family tax benefit part A for children under 13 will increase by $8.68 a fortnight to $222.04. For children between 13 and 15, and for secondary students between 16 and 19, the new rate is $288.82 per fortnight.

The family tax benefit part B increases to $188.86 per fortnight when the youngest child is under five and for families with the youngest child aged over five but up to 18 years, $131.74

The $300 energy credit announced in the Federal Budget will appear on your power bill sometime in the next few weeks, but you’ll need to look closely. The $300 is spread over the entire year so the first credit to appear will be for $75.

This of course is on top of the State Government’s $400 credit which is split over two $200 payments. The first of these payments will hit your energy account in late July with the second arriving in December.

And guess what? There’s a State Election due in 2025.

In addition to this, you’ll need to add the two per cent Medicare levy which can be higher if you don’t have an approved health insurance policy in place.

Nick Bruining is an independent financial adviser and a member of the Certified Independent Financial Advisers Association

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The front page of The Nightly for 12-07-2024

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