Federal budget 2017: Winners and losers.


Explore who wins and who loses as a result of Scott Morrison’s 2017 budget.

Loser: Taxpayers

Most taxpayers will soon be paying more tax.

The Medicare Levy is set to increase by 0.5 per cent – from 2 to 2.5 per cent of taxable income – to help fund the $22 billion National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and avoid future budget black holes.

If it’s passed by Parliament, the change will kick in on July 1, 2019.

The Treasurer says all Australians have a role to play in supporting the disability scheme, even if they aren’t directly affected.

Loser: Big banks

The big banks aren’t going to be happy. They’re getting whacked on a number of fronts as the Treasurer works to level the playing field.

The biggest is a 0.06 per cent levy – essentially a new tax – that will kick in on July 1.

It’ll only affect the five biggest banks – the Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, National Australia Bank, ANZ and Macquarie – and will boost the budget bottom line by $6.2 billion over the forward estimates.

Economists warn some of these costs could be passed on to customers, who may then turn to their smaller competitors.

The big banks are also facing new rules on providing credit cards and there’ll be a new authority to help consumers with complaints.

Winner: Students

There’ll be more Commonwealth funding per student, for most schools. The Federal Government will give schools an extra $18.6 billion over 10 years.

The Government says it will standardise school funding, but as part of that about two dozen schools will lose Commonwealth funding and about 300 more won’t receive as much as they expected.


Loser: University students

University fees are on the rise. Students will have to pay an extra $2,000 – $3,600 for a four-year course. That’s a fee increase of 1.8 per cent next year, and 7.5 per cent by 2022.

The income level at which you will have to start repaying your HECS debt will also be reduced. Currently, you only have to repay your debt when you earn over $55,000. From July next year, you’ll have to repay it once you hit $42,000.

Universities are also facing a 2.5 per cent efficiency dividend.

The only win for university students is the introduction of Commonwealth Supported Places in sub-bachelor programs like diplomas.

Loser: Foreigners

Foreigners are losing out when it comes to visas, employment, property and education.

Under the new Temporary Skills Shortage visa employers will have to pay a levy of up to $5,000 for each foreign worker they employ. The levy will be put towards a fund to train Australian apprentices and trainees.

Foreign investors are being slugged with an extra charge for properties left vacant.

Foreign property owners are also being stung on their main residence; they’ll now have to pay the capital gains tax when they sell it. And foreign ownership of new developments will be capped at 50 per cent.

Australian permanent residents and most New Zealand citizens will no longer be able to apply for Commonwealth supported university places.


The only win for foreigners is the establishment of a temporary sponsored parent visa which will allow relatives to stay in Australia for up to 10 years.

Loser: Anti-vaxxers

Parents who don’t vaccinate their children will lose about $28 per child per fortnight.

The money will be withheld from the Family Tax Benefit Part A. In total, the Federal Government expects to withhold about $66 million worth of payments.

Winner: Older people

Older people can claim a few small wins in the budget.

If you lost your pensioner concession card as a result of the assets test change earlier this year, you’ll now have the benefit restored.

Older Australians will get a one-off $75 power rebate.

And those over the age of 65 who downsize their home can pour up to $300,000 of the proceeds into their super fund. This is only expected to help up to 10,000 people a year.

Winner: Sydney

Sydney is getting a second airport at Badgerys Creek in the city’s west. The Federal Government will build and potentially operate it, which will ease pressure on the existing airport as it quickly runs out capacity.

The Federal Government will pour $5.3 billion into the project over the next four years.

The airport remains controversial for some locals, who are fighting forced evictions in the High Court.

Winner: Farmers

After decades of lobbying, farmers are finally getting an inland rail network to move their goods quickly and cheaply.

The Government will invest more than $8 billion to build the line linking Brisbane to Melbourne. Construction could start this year.


There’s also ongoing funding for the Landcare program. The Government has allocated it $1 billion over five years.

Despite the wins, there’s no money in the budget to improve mobile reception. Blackspots plague regional and remote parts of the country and are a major safety concern for some.

Winner: Western Australia

Western Australia will get new roads and rail, as part of a state-Commonwealth funding package. The Federal Government has agreed funding previously earmarked for the Perth Freight Link can be used on the Metronet rail project and upgrades to roads around the state.

Loser: Smokers

People who use roll-your-own tobacco or smoke cigars might feel some pain after the budget.

Those products are set to be taxed more, bringing them into line with the tax rates on cigarettes.

The change will be phased in over the next four years, and will contribute $360 million to the budget over the same period.

Neutral: Defence

Defence will get $34.6 billion in 2017-18 and $150.6 billion over the forward estimates.

That’s in line with expectations, and maintains what the Government calls a “stable and sustainable” funding growth path.

Defence spending is on track to hit 2 per cent of GDP by 2020-21 – three years earlier than the Government promised back in 2013.

But Defence consultants and contractors actually lose out – their numbers are set to be cut. Overseas and business travel will also be limited.


Operation Sovereign Borders will continue to get the funding it needs to “stop the boats”.

Neutral: Small business

The owners of small businesses will enjoy instant tax offsets for another year; a measure the Treasurer says will improve cash flow. Businesses that turn over less than $10 million each year will be able to immediately write off expenditure up to $20,000.

That’s flagged to revert back to $1,000 from July 1, 2018, but there’s a possibility it could be extended again.

However, some small businesses may also be hit with a new foreign worker levy.

Every employee on a temporary work visa will cost a business up to $1,800 each year, while businesses will pay a one-off levy for workers on a permanent skilled visa.

Winner: Traditional broadcasters

Free-to-air networks will have their annual license fee abolished and replaced with a much smaller yearly payment. It’ll save them about $90 million a year. It’s aimed at levelling the playing field with new media competitors like Facebook, Netflix and Google.

Pay TV operators will also have a better chance to bid for major sports, and there’ll be additional funding for the screening of women’s sport.

The package also bans gambling advertising during live sport broadcasts.

Winner: First home buyers

First home buyers are modest winners in this budget.

They’ll be able to use voluntary contributions to their superannuation to save for a house deposit. Withdrawals will be taxed at a lower rate, but the amount you can contribute is capped at $15,000 a year and $30,000 all up. Both members of a couple can take advantage of the scheme.


The new restrictions on foreign property owners (see Losers: foreigners) could take a little heat out of property prices in the east coast capitals, which would benefit first home buyers.

Winner: Pharmaceutical consumers

The Government has struck a deal with Medicines Australia to reduce the price of certain pharmaceuticals.

This means your out-of-pocket expenses for certain medicines will be lower.

Extra medicines to treat heart conditions and schizophrenia have been added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Loser: Welfare recipients

Welfare payments are being consolidated and some recipients will be subject to random drug testing.

People deemed to be at risk of substance abuse will be required to undertake random saliva, urine or hair follicle tests for drugs in three locations from next year.

Jobseekers who test positive to drugs will have their payments quarantined. About 450 people each year will be blocked from claiming the Disability Support Pension on the basis of drug and alcohol abuse alone.

Newstart and Sickness Allowance recipients will be moved to the new JobSeeker Payment, which pays the same. Jobseekers aged up to 49 will now have to undertake 50 hours of approved activity a fortnight. There will also be longer waiting periods for those with liquid assets.

The Cashless debit card will be introduced in two new locations.

Economists say this may make welfare recipients’ lives more difficult, but ultimately very few will be forced off welfare.


Winner: Patients

Patients’ out-of-pocket expenses should be lower, with the Government lifting the freeze on Medicare rebates and improving the incentives for GPs to bulk bill.

The rebate is the amount of money the Government contributes towards the cost of particular medical services, like GP and specialist consultations and health tests like pap smears and blood tests.

The freeze will be lifted over the next three years, depending on the service.

Loser: Superannuants

Superannuants, as the major shareholders in banks, could bear the brunt of the new levy faced by the five biggest financial institutions.

Economists say any reduction in the banks profits will ultimately impact the share price and therefore the bank’s shareholders.

Loser: Foreign aid

Australia’s foreign aid budget will be frozen for two years from 2018.

The amount spent on aid and development had been expected to increase in line with the consumer price index.

The freezing of the budget means Australia will spend $303 million less on foreign aid during that time.

Winner: NDIS

The National Disability Insurance Scheme has been fully funded.

The fund to pay for it will be topped up with additional money generated from the increase in the Medicare Levy.

Over the forward estimates, $9.1 billion will be paid into the special account.


This post originally appeared on ABC News.

© 2017 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. Read the ABC Disclaimer here