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Australian families to pay the price for Wayne Swan's 2013 Budget

STRUGGLING families will pay for Labor's big ticket election promises on education and disability, a $3.2 billion blowout in spending on asylum-seekers and the devastating $14 billion failure of the carbon and mining taxes. Australia ImmigrationThe abolition of the Baby Bonus and cuts to family benefits by freezing indexation and stopping increases announced in the Budget last year also will hit thousands of families in traditional Labor heartland areas such as Western Sydney. But the $3 billion in new cuts to family payments were a necessay measure, Treasurer Wayne Swan said, to make room for a 10-year $78 billion social spending program to deliver the National Disabilities Insurance Scheme and the Gonski School funding reforms. "I am a strong supporter of the family payments system,'' Mr Swan said. "But if we are going to have a strong family payments system in Australia it has to be sustainable and it has to be targeted.'' Confirming his promise of a surplus would be dead until at least 2016-2017, Mr Swan announced an $18 billion deficit and then delivered another promise _ that the government would fund productivity-enhancing infrastructure in Sydney, the M4 extension and the M5 duplication as well as the F3-M2 "Missing Link". But none of those vital projects will be built for years. Spending on immigration including the waves of asylum-seekers arriving on Australian shores by boat has blown out by $3.2 billion over the four years to 2015-16, the Budget 2013 papers show. Immigration and Citizenship Minister Brendon O'Connor said: "Obviously the current arrival rate is not acceptable in terms of the risks to human life or the impact on the budget. "The Government is making reasonable provision for associated financial costs in the budget and is taking further action to stop people from risking their lives on dangerous boat journeys." The Government has also pledged $14.3 billion on disability over the forward estimates but people in Sydney won't see the benefits of the National Disability Insurance Scheme for up to five years. Mr Swan said the money raised from a half-percentage point rise in the Medicare levy from July 1, 2014 would be placed in a special fund for 10 years and only used for the additional costs of DisabilityCare Australia. New school funding of $9.8 billion under the Gonski recommendations will be spread over six years from 2014-15. It includes a base funding amount for each student for the first time and ensures that even wealthy independent schoools will not lose a dollar. NSW has already signed up for the cash and other states and territories have until June 30 this year to agree. Over 10 years, both programs would be funded to the tune of $78 billion - with similar savings to be delivered to cover them. Announcing the deficit, the Treasurer said: "The alternative, cutting to the bone, puts Australian jobs and our economy at risk ... instead we are making targeted, sustainable savings of $43 billion over the forward estimates. "Our current school funding system is broken, it's failing our children. "That's why we are transforming our nation's schools by investing $9.8 billion in new school funding." Of the Government's commitment to new roads, Mr Swan said: "We are also putting funds towards productivity-enhancing infrastructure in Sydney _ the M4 extension and the M5 duplication and funds that will see the Missing Link between the F3-M2 constructed. "We will partner with the private sector and State Governments to deliver these critical projects as efficiently as possible." The Government said $1.9 billion would be made available to help Queensland recover from the January floods. And in a bid to to boost workforce participation and transition to employment Newstart recipients will be allowed to earn $1000 more per year before their payments are affected _ the first increase in more than a decade. A rise in the excise on cigarettes will push the price of a packet of 25 up by 7c in the first half of 2014, the budget papers revealed. In other measures the Government announced it would spend: . $300 million to support childcare workers . $200 million to improve the quality of water entering the Great Barrier Reef . $100 million on a new Farm Household Allowance to support farmers in hardship _ part of the National Drought Program . $97 million to boost the number of Commonwealth-supported university places . $69 million for more flexible pathways for 4000 Australians undertaking trade and technical qualifications . $25 million extra for the Centenary of ANZAC and expanding veterans' mental health services . $24 billion in new investment on road and rail infrastructure, and . $12.9 million to connect more local councils to the National Broadband Network. Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/expathealth/10049348/Disability-neednt-be-a-barrier-to-a-new-life-Down-Under.html

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