NSW drivers to save up to $750 a year on tolls

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NSW drivers to save up to $750 annually, 80% of small businesses pumped for growth, and a new calculator helps first homebuyers build a plan. Here are five things you may have missed this week.

NSW drivers to save up to $750 a year on tolls

About half a million NSW motorists will receive cash rebates paid quarterly into their bank accounts under the NSW Government's Toll Rebate Scheme.

NSW drivers to save up to $750 a year on tolls

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the new scheme would see more NSW motorists benefit from targeted payments compared with the existing Registration Relief Scheme.

The number of road users receiving toll relief will more than double. Almost 300,000 extra drivers will benefit though there are strings attached.

Under the new relief package, motorists will receive a 40% rebate for tolls incurred but only if they spend more than $375 in a year. The maximum annual benefit for each customer will be $750.

The program will be in place for an initial two-year period, while the government finalises and implements long term tolling reforms.

For tolls incurred up to June 30, 2022, NSW road users can continue to receive vehicle registration relief until June 30, 2023.

For tolls incurred from 1 July 2022, customers can access the new program and will receive their first rebate payment in early 2023, followed by quarterly payments.

80% of small businesses primed for growth

You have to hand it to small business owners. Despite the gloom surrounding rate rises and cooling property markets, a survey by small business lender Prospa, found 81% of small business owners are confident about the future, with 81% forecasting growth in next 12 months.

Beau Bertoli, Co-Founder of Prospa says, "Despite ongoing challenges, the majority of small business owners have been working hard to make smart decisions to drive new revenue and become more efficient to propel growth."

Prospa has just launched a 'no repayment for up to eight weeks' offer to support new and existing Australian small business customers prepare for the end of financial year. It will be available until 30 June 2022.

Genworth launches home-buying deposit calculator

Lenders mortgage insurance (LMI) provider - Genworth, has launched a handy online deposit comparison estimator that could be useful for first homebuyers.

You just enter a few basic details including your monthly savings, rent (if you're a tenant), deposit accumulated to date, and an estimate of your possible home loan interest rate. From there the calculator sets out the costs and benefits of six different strategies including:

  • saving a bigger deposit
  • buying with LMI paid upfront
  • buying with LMI added to the loan
  • buying with family assistance
  • using a loan guarantor, and
  • taking advantage of the First Home Guarantee (5% deposit, no LMI).

You don't have to be a first homebuyer to benefit from the calculator. However, it puts a dollar value on each of the scenarios, which can help first homebuyers decide whether it could be better to keep slogging away to save a bigger deposit or jump into the market sooner.

BetaShares launches Future of Food ETF

As the world's population grows and patterns of food consumption change, there is an increased focus on more sustainable ways to produce the food we eat.

BetaShares is tapping into this trend with its newly launched Future of Food exchange traded fund (ETF), designed to provide exposure to some of the world's most innovative food production and supply companies.

The fund's underlying companies are in sectors such as 'smart' farming (vertical farming, precision agriculture and the use of automation in farming), plant-based and cell cultured foods, and sustainable packaging.

The Future of Food ETF (ASX: IEAT) has a management fee of 0.67%.

NAB buys Citibank's consumer business

Following its acquisition of digital bank 86 400, NAB has just purchased Citi's Australian consumer business, which includes unsecured loans, credit cards, residential mortgages and deposits.

The $1.2 billion sale was announced late last year but required approval from a variety of regulatory bodies including the ACCC, all of which have now given NAB the green light.

NAB Chief Executive Officer Ross McEwan says, "The acquisition of the Citigroup Consumer Business supports our ambition to build a leading personal bank with a simpler, more digital experience."

In fact, the purchase will make NAB the second largest credit card provider in Australia after the Commonwealth Bank.

On the flipside, the sale leaves Citi free to focus on "corporate, investor and public sector clients with cross-border needs".

The integration of Citi's Consumer Business into NAB will be rolled out progressively over the next two to three years. In the meantime, Citigroup customers can continue to use their Citigroup app, card and services. There is no change for NAB customers.

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A former Chartered Accountant, Nicola Field has been a regular contributor to Money for 20 years, and writes on personal finance issues for some of Australia's largest financial institutions. She is the author of Investing in Your Child's Future and Baby or Bust, and has collaborated with Paul Clitheroe on a variety of projects including radio scripts, newspaper columns, and several books.