A young Canberra family has welcomed the federal government's efforts to lower the cost of doctor's visits and continued support for childcare.
Bonython parents Bec and Jeremy Leala doubted they would ever be able to afford childcare for their two-year-old twins and six-month-old son and were afraid the 2017 budget would worsen their chances.
They were disappointed there were no rises to family payments, but were pleased with the $37.3 billion investment until June 2021 to help ease child care costs.
Maintaining family tax benefits for two years gave them hope for accessible and affordable childcare. However, the low-income parents dodged a bullet that will hit middle-class earners receiving the same benefits. Other announcements that will affect families include:
- Middle-income families will be subject to an income taper test, losing 30 cents of their family tax benefit for every dollar they earn over $94,316 from July 2018. This will save the Government $415.4 million over five years.
- About 25,000 families will lose access to Family Tax Benefit Part A, and about 72,000 will see a reduction.
- From July 1, fortnightly Family Tax Benefit Part A payments will be reduced by $28 for each child who doesn't meet No Jab No Pay immunisation requirements. Previously penalties have kicked in at the end of the financial year.
- First home buyers will be able to save for a deposit by salary sacrificing into their superannuation account over and above their compulsory superannuation contribution from July 1.
Ms Leala was concerned about increased costs to GP visits, given their children had various allergies. But she shared the relief much of the health sector would have likely felt when Treasurer Scott Morrison made the aniticpated-announcement that the Medicare rebate freeze would be lifted.
"Making doctors visits cheaper is a huge help for our family and others who might not be able to afford to the doctor if the out-of-pocket costs rise," Ms Leala said.
Taxpayers will suffer a 0.5 percentage point rise in the Medicare levy to fund the $21 billion National Insurance Disability Scheme.
Overall, she thought her family would be better-off from the budget.
"It really could have been worse," she said.
"I've been off work looking after the kids, so if we get enough government support I could possibly go back to work and afford to put the kids into childcare."