Previous measures: those revised in the 2015–16 Budget and those not yet proceeded with

Budget Review 2015–16 Index

Tarek Dale and Kai Swoboda

The 2014–15 Budget included a number of policy changes which proved controversial, and in some cases the Government has not yet been able to gain Parliamentary approval for particular measures. While some measures have been reversed in the 2015–16 Budget (for example, reductions in the Automotive Transformation Scheme and changes to Age Pension indexation), others are still included in the Budget estimates, despite not being legislated.

The 2014–15 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook included estimates of the ‘Impact of delays in passing legislation’ grouped by portfolio, but did not outline individual measures in detail.[1] Similarly, there is no definitive list in the 2015–16 Budget of measures for which the Government has not been able to gain Parliamentary approval.[2]

The table below provides a high-level summary of selected measures from the 2014–15 Budget and other budget updates, which are either unchanged but do not yet have Parliamentary approval, or were amended or reversed in the 2015–16 Budget.

Table 1: Status of selected measures from previous budget updates

Unchanged measures
Measure Legislative status
Abolition of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.[3] Bills to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation were introduced but negatived by the previous Senate on two occasions. A bill has been reintroduced but not yet voted on in the House of Representatives.[4]
Fair Entitlements Guarantee – aligning redundancy payments to national employment standards.[5] A bill to cap the maximum amount of redundancy pay entitlement available under the Fair Entitlements Guarantee scheme has been introduced but not yet voted on in the Senate.[6]
Increase the Age Pension qualifying age to 70 years.[7] A bill that included this measure (amongst other changes) was discharged from the notice paper in the Senate. A bill reintroduced for this measure (amongst other changes) has not yet been voted on in the House of Representatives.[8]
Increase in Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme co-payments and safety net thresholds.[9] Bill not yet voted on by the Senate.[10]
Limit Family Tax Benefit Part B to families with children under six years of age.[11]
Maintain Family Tax Benefit payment rates for two years.[12]
New Family Tax Benefit Allowance.[13]
Revise Family Tax Benefit end-of-year supplements.[14]




Two bills that included these measures (amongst other changes) have been discharged from the notice paper in the Senate. A second Bill including these measures has been reintroduced but not yet voted on in the Senate.[15]
Reintroduction of fuel excise indexation.[16] A bill has been introduced but not yet voted on in the Senate. The measure was subsequently implemented temporarily through tariff and excise proposals. Legislation to ratify the reintroduction of indexation from 10 November 2014 will need to be introduced and passed by Parliament prior to 10 November 2015.[17]
Removing caps on student contributions.[18] Bills introduced but negatived in the Senate on two occasions.[19]
Repeal higher tax-free threshold from 1 July 2015.[20] Initially a budget measure by the previous Government to delay a legislated higher tax-free threshold.[21] Bills introduced but negatived in the Senate on two occasions. A bill has been reintroduced but not yet voted on in the House of Representatives.[22]
Revised or reversed measures
Measure Changes in the 2015–16 Budget
Abolish Climate Change Authority.[23] One Bill to abolish the Climate Change Authority was negatived in the Senate, and the re-introduced Bill has not been voted on in the Senate. Revisions announced in the 2015–16 Budget provide for a reallocation of funding to extend the Climate Change Authority until 31 December 2016.[24]
Automotive Assistance – reducing funding.[25] Measures in the 2013–14 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook and the 2014–15 Budget to reduce funding for the Automotive Transformation Scheme were reversed in the 2015–16 Budget.[26]
Changes to GP rebates.[27] Changes included in the 2014–15 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook in relation to GP rebates are not proceeding.[28]
Index pension and pension equivalent payments by the Consumer Price Index.[29] Not proceeding.[30]
Maintain eligibility thresholds for Australian Government payments for three years.[31]

Elements affecting indexation of income test and deeming rate thresholds for pension payments are not proceeding. Elements affecting indexation of assets test thresholds and limits for all income support payments and the Child Care Rebate annual limit have been passed by the Parliament.
It is unclear if elements affecting indexation of income test thresholds for non-pension income support payments, Family Tax Benefit and Child Care Benefit will proceed—attempts were made to legislate these measures but either did not pass or were discharged from the notice paper. Bills have been reintroduced for those measures and are currently in either the House (Child Care Benefit elements) or Senate (all other elements).[32]

Reset the Assets Test Deeming Rate Thresholds for pensions.[33] Not proceeding.[34]
Stronger Participation Incentives for Job Seekers under 30.[35] Revisions announced in the 2015–16 Budget to reduce the waiting period to one month (from six months), and only applying the measure to those aged under 25 (instead of under 30).[36]
Budget briefs have been prepared by the Research Branch in relation to a number of these measures, including:
  • Medicare
  • The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
  • Pensions and
  • Family Payments.[37]

Identifying the impacts associated with particular measures which have not yet received Parliamentary approval is difficult. The Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) released analysis in February 2015 (prior to the 2015–16 Budget) entitled ‘Update of major yet to be legislated payment measures’, which provides budget estimates in relation to some measures (although not all those identified above).[38] The PBO is also expected to publish updated estimates in the near future. While the PBO noted that their February estimates would no longer be accurate after the 2015–16 Budget, that analysis suggests the orders of magnitude involved with some measures in the 2015–16 financial year, including:

  • ‘Family Tax Benefit Reform package—Maintain FBT payment rates for two years’—$719 million
  • ‘Family Tax Benefit Reform package—Limit FTB B to families with children under six years of age’— $88 million
  • ‘Increase in co-payments and safety net thresholds’ (in relation to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme)—$306 million.[39]


[1].          J Hockey (Treasurer) and M Cormann (Finance Minister), Mid-year economic and fiscal outlook 2014–15, p. 23.

[2].          Budget strategy and outlook: budget paper no. 1: 2015–16 does include estimates of the ‘Total impact of significant decisions not to proceed with prior Budget proposals’ and ‘Impact of  delays in passing legislation’ (p. 3-11), but not by individual measure.

[3].          J Hockey (Treasurer) and M Cormann (Finance Minister), Mid-year economic and fiscal outlook 2013–14, pp. 144–145.

[4].          Parliament of Australia, ‘Clean Energy Finance Corporation (Abolition) Bill 2013 homepage’, Australian Parliament website; Parliament of Australia, ‘Clean Energy Finance Corporation (Abolition) Bill 2013 [No. 2] homepage’, Australian Parliament website; Parliament of Australia, ‘Clean Energy Finance Corporation (Abolition) Bill 2014 homepage’, Australian Parliament website.

[5].          Australian Government, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2014–15, p. 95.

[6].          Parliament of Australia, ‘Fair Entitlements Guarantee Amendment Bill 2014 homepage’, Australian Parliament website.

[7].          Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2014–15, op. cit., p. 202.

[8].          Parliament of Australia, ‘Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 2) Bill 2014 homepage’, Australian Parliament website; ‘Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 5) Bill 2014 homepage’, Australian Parliament website.

[9].          Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2014–15, op. cit., p. 140.

[10].       Parliament of Australia, ‘National Health Amendment (Pharmaceutical Benefits) Bill 2014 homepage’, Australian Parliament website. The 2015–16 Budget measure ‘Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme—increase in safety net thresholds on 1 January 2019’ builds on the 2014–15 budget measure to extend an increase by an additional year, and includes a revised start date of 1 January 2016 (Australian Government, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2015–16, pp. 107–108).

[11].       Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2014–15, op. cit., p. 198.

[12].       Parliament of Australia, ‘Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 1) Bill 2014 homepage’, Australian Parliament website; ‘Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 2) Bill 2014 homepage’, op. cit.; Parliament of Australia, ‘Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 4) Bill 2014 homepage’, Australian Parliament website. For a summary of the social security measures in different pieces of legislation see M Klapdor, The 2014–15 social services budget Bills: a quick guide, Research paper series, 2014–15, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 2014

[13].       Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2014–15, op. cit., p. 199.

[14].      Ibid., p. 199.

[15].       Ibid., p. 200.

[16].       Ibid., p. 17.

[17].       Parliament of Australia, ‘Excise Tariff Amendment (Fuel Indexation) Bill 2014 homepage’, Australian Parliament website; Parliament of Australia, ‘Customs Tariff Amendment (Fuel Indexation) Bill 2014 homepage’, Australian Parliament website; Parliament of Australia, ‘Summary of Alterations – Excise Tariff Proposal (No. 1) 2014 and Customs Tariff Proposal (No. 1) 2014’. A subsequent measure in the 2014–15 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) amended the start date, but not the underlying measure (Mid-year economic and fiscal outlook 2014–15, op. cit., p. 115).

[18].       Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2014–15, op. cit., pp. 84–85. While other aspects of the measure were amended in the 2014–15 MYEFO, there were no changes in relation to the proposal to remove caps on student contributions (Mid-year economic and fiscal outlook 2014–15, op. cit., p. 151).

[19].       Parliament of Australia, ‘Higher Education and Research Reform Amendment Bill 2014 homepage’, Australian Parliament website; Parliament of Australia, ‘Higher Education and Research Reform Bill 2014 homepage’, Australian Parliament website.

[20].       Mid-year economic and fiscal outlook 2013–14, op. cit., pp. 144–145.

[21].       Australian Government, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2013–14, p. 24.

[22].       Parliament of Australia, ‘Clean Energy (Income Tax Rates and Other Amendments) Bill 2013 homepage’, Australian Parliament website; Parliament of Australia, ‘Clean Energy (Income Tax Rates and Other Amendments) Bill 2013 [No. 2] homepage’, Australian Parliament website; Parliament of Australia, ‘Labor 2013-14 Budget Savings (Measures No. 1) Bill 2014 homepage’, Australian Parliament website.

[23].       Mid-year economic and fiscal outlook 2013–14, op. cit., pp. 143–144.

[24].       Parliament of Australia, ‘Climate Change Authority (Abolition) Bill 2013 homepage’, Australian Parliament website; Parliament of Australia, ‘Climate Change Authority (Abolition) Bill 2013 [No. 2] homepage’, Australian Parliament website; Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2015–16, op. cit., p. 87.

[25].       Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2014–15, op. cit., p. 163.

[26].       Mid-year economic and fiscal outlook 2013–14, op. cit., p. 170; Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2015–16, op. cit., p. 128.

[27].       Mid-Year economic and fiscal outlook 2014–15, op. cit., p. 166.

[28].       Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2015–16, op. cit., p. 102.

[29].       Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2014–15, op. cit., p. 203.

[30].       Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2015–16, op. cit., pp. 169–170.

[31].       Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2014–15, op. cit., p. 204.

[32].       Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2015–16, op. cit., p. 167; Parliament of Australia, ‘Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 6) Bill 2014 homepage’, Australian Parliament website; Parliament of Australia, ‘Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Child Care Measures) Bill 2014 homepage’, Australian Parliament website; ‘Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 1) Bill 2014 homepage’, op. cit.; ‘Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 2) Bill 2014 homepage’, op. cit.; Parliament of Australia, ‘Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Child Care Measures) Bill (No. 2) 2014 homepage’, Australian Parliament website; ‘Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 4) Bill 2014 homepage’, op. cit.

[33].       Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2014–15, op. cit., p. 208.

[34].       Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2015–16, op. cit., p. 168.

[35].       Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2014–15, op. cit., p. 210.

[36].       Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2015–16, op. cit., pp. 159–160.

[37].       These are available as part of the Parliamentary Library’s Budget Review 2015–16 (Parliamentary Library, Budget Review 2015–16, Research Paper, 2014–15, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 2015).

[38].       Parliamentary Budget Office, ‘Update of major yet to be legislated payment measures’, Response to request for budget analysis – outside the caretaker period, 27 February 2015.

[39].       Ibid., p. 3.

 

All online articles accessed May 2015. 

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