Treasurer Joe Hockey last night handed down the 2014 federal budget. It proved to be a art-Joe-Hockey-420x0budget that will take a long time to achieve its goals.

The plan has been made for the next 3 years at least, whether or not the incumbent party retains power. This long-term view allows the Treasurer to gradually introduce the cuts and minimize the backlash. But make no mistake, the medium term cuts, to education and health, will bite.

For while the budget deregulates the fees universities can charge, it reduces the amount graduates need to earn before repaying  their tuition loans. And while the government is investing billions in a medical research fund, it is introducing a $7 surcharge on every visit to the doctor.

The end goal is to stabilise the nation’s balance of accounts and bring our massive debt under control. Treasurer Hockey took great pains to explain he understood the social impact of these measures – for (as he said) in the end economics is about people.

Winners and Losers of the 2014 budget

Students, foreign aid and families are the big losers in Joe Hockey’s 2014 budget, while health and education are set to be hit, but only after 2017.2014-budget

Medical research is set to get a massive boost with the establishment of a $20 billion future fund, while the Government has also made investment in infrastructure one of the few winners in tonight’s budget.

Low Income Earners

  • The introduction of a GP co-payment of $7 ($5 of which the Government will take), will hit low income earners for their first 10 visits to the GP per year ($70). After 10 visits patients with concession cards and children under 16 will be exempt from the fee.
  • Hospitals will also be allowed to charge for visits to emergency rooms by patients with ailments that only require a visit to a GP.
  • Low income earners will be hit by the decision to index the petrol excise to inflation twice a year.
  • Low income earners will also be negatively impacted by the Government’s decision to freeze thresholds of eligibility for welfare payments as well as the payments themselves. Previously the thresholds were indexed to CPI and so the eligibility would increase as inflation increased. Similarly, payments will decrease in real terms as they no longer account for increases in inflation.

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