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Comment on the budget



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M I N I S T E R F O R A D M I N I S T R A T I V E S E R V I C E S

MINISTER ASSISTING THE MINISTER FOR D E FE N C E

FOR THE MEWS MONDAY/ AUGUST 27, 1979

Last week's Budget produced the spectacle of the Federal. Opposition,

trade union movement, other ALP critics and the media floundering

over what they could criticise in a document that contained

something for nearly everyone. . . ' · '

It was claimed there, was nothing extra for the unemployed when ' "

there is, it was claimed that wage earners lose out even though

they get a pay rise arid that somehow it was bad news that private

overseas students would have to pay their own fees instead of the

Australian taxpayer. . .

What the critics carefully avoided saying was that Social Security

benefits are increased or widened in numerous specific areas while

assistance for pre-school and child care projects is increased by

$5.4 million to $69 million. ;

Among the pension increases to operate from November are

. Age pensions are increased to $57.90 a week for single

people and $96.50 for.married couples. k : . . .

. Invalid pensions for the permanently blind or incapacitated

are also increased. ;

- Wives' pensions are extended and increased to $48.25 a week

where a husband is an age or invalid pensioner.

. Widows1 pensions -will be increased to $57.90 a week

Supporting parents' benefit will be increased to $57.90

a week,

Unemployment benefits will be increased for those with

dependants to $57.90 a .week for single persons and to $96.50

for couples. . . .

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' . < Sickness benefits will be increased to $57.90 a week for

single people and $96.50 for married couples. . .

There is also to be a return to twice yearly automatic indexation

for pensioners which means a twice yearly increase linked to the

cost of living. '

In addition there are a large number of other benefits :- ■

. The 2.57 per cent income tax surcharge will be removed which .

will give taxpayers more take home pay from December 1. _

. Fringe benefits will be available to more people holding

pensioner^ health benefit cards because the income level that

determines eligibility for fringe benefits will be raised to

$40.00 a week for a single person and $68.00 for married ;

couples. , . · ■ · . -

There are special programs over a wide range of other areas including " · · ' . ' · : '

the handicapped, migration and aborigines. . ·

Also, as promised by the Fraser Government, service pensions will

be paid- to any veteran of formal allied forces, in any war involving

Australia. ■

Considerable benefits will accrue in the private sector particularly

small businesses and the· tourist industry. A new depreciation

allowance for tourist industrial construction will create more jobs

in the private sector. . .

There is no tax on gas which is essential to an important section

of South Australia's, secondary industry, nor is there any tax on

wine,/beer or spirits etc. and sales tax in a number of areas has

been abolished. *

In spite of all these goodies it is a very responsible Budget with

the deficit reduced by more than $1,000 million on last year, good

news for investment and in the long run good news for inflation and

interest rates. . . ' ■ ' ■ ■

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