The good, the bad and the ugly: what our experts are saying


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Tax cuts. Super changes. Aged care spending. Eight experts share their reactions to the Budget.

Effie Zahos, editor, Money magazine

With all the talk about the tax office cracking down on claims for expenses, I was surprised that the Budget didn't touch on any changes to work-related deductions.

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It was also nice to hear that the government will provide $10.6 million over two years to ASIC and $2.7 million in 2018-19 to APRA to assist in their involvement in the royal commission into misconduct in the banking, superannuation and financial services industry.

No point having a royal commission if the regulators don't have the resources to follow through and maintain their "watchdog" status. The cost is to be offset by various industry levies.

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Susan Hely, staff writer, Money magazine

I'm pleased to see that the under 25s or those with less than $6000 no longer have insurance automatically taken out of their super contributions.

Instead they will have to opt in when they join a fund. Having teenagers and young adults whose super contributions from part-time work were entirely devoured by their fund's insurance costs (and admin fees); I can say it was a disillusioning introduction to superannuation for them.

Home care is crucial for frail old people, like my late mother, who want to stay in their own home.

While 14,000 extra packages over four years were announced in the Budget, there will be a huge 80,000 elderly people left waiting in the queue for help.

The expanded Pension Loans Scheme will help provide welcome cash flow to help the aged afford some private care services by using equity in their home and paying an interest rate of 5.25% on the loan.

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Paul Clitheroe, chairman and chief commentator, Money magazine

In a vast Budget spending nearly $500 billion of our tax money, everyone can whinge about something. I certainly could but I am not going to.

This Budget is quite OK. Politicians do like to be re-elected but if they are going to disperse money in the community I am good with more cash in hand for lower and medium wage earners. Support for retirees, pensioners and at-home aged care is necessary.

Infrastructure spending is really critical. Is it a 10 out 10 Budget? Well, no, but it is a solid 7.

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Ben Kingsley, founding director of Empower Wealth and co-host of The Property Couch podcast

On the property front, is this another "integrity measure" for property investors? Holders of vacant land won't be able to claim any tax deductions until construction begins.

The government keeps chipping away at the edges but negative gearing and capital gains tax emptions still hold up under Liberal policy.

The government is ramping up its Pension Loans Scheme, opening it up to anyone over pension age to, in effect, "reverse mortgage" their house.

This now allows more pensioners to access fortnightly payments against the value in their homes. I like the idea to help take further pressure off the government purse strings and give more pensioners access to much-needed funds to cover today's higher cost of living.

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Louise Biti, director, Aged Care Steps

I was surprised the Budget did not include any changes to client fees for aged care - although this was a good surprise as any changes would have only been to make care more expensive for clients.

I was pleased to see more home care packages and changes to the Pension Loans Scheme which may help full and part age pension recipients to pay for care services.

This extra income can help to fill the gap while waiting for a home care package to be allocated or to pay top-up services if the package is not enough.

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Scott Phillips, general manager, the Motley Fool Australia

This Budget won't greatly impact personal finance and investing.

Tighter rules on super - limiting fees and proactively consolidating accounts - are welcome.

And the government's commitment to retaining franking credit refunds is a victory for common sense.

The near-term tax cuts for low and middle income earners are well targeted: most of the money will be immediately injected back into the economy as spending, boosting activity. Unfortunately, though, Budgets are written by politicians.

More restraint, on both sides, would be preferable, so the government's balance sheet can more quickly return to better health, giving it more dry powder before the next downturn. eight week saver 8 week savings challenge money magazine effie zahos budgeting save money

Jason Davies-Kildea, Salvation Army social policy manager

For those who rely on Newstart or Youth Allowance to survive, the picture is even worse, with some paying 80% or more to keep a roof over their head.

Under these conditions, it is no surprise that the number of people falling into homelessness has been increasing.

While some low income earners gain a little from taxation changes in this Budget, there's nothing for those surviving on the lowest income support payments.

It's this group who are most in need, who are driven by desperation to the doors of the Salvation Army for help but who are judged as undeserving by our government.

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Shane Oliver, chief economist and head of investment strategy for AMP Capital

The Budget has a sensible focus on providing a small boost to households (with the full impact of tax cuts not occurring until next decade) and to infrastructure at the same time as maintaining a return to surplus.

The main risks are around whether the recent revenue windfall to the Budget proves temporary and the assumptions for continued strong revenue growth.

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