Wimmera to brace for pain in Federal Budget

Andrew Weidemann is concerned about the Federal Government’s plan to increase tax for high income earners. Picture: SAMANTHA CAMARRI

Andrew Weidemann is concerned about the Federal Government’s plan to increase tax for high income earners. Picture: SAMANTHA CAMARRI

WIMMERA leaders predict Tuesday's Federal Budget will be painful for many Wimmera families.

Fuel costs, job losses and reduced eligibility for government benefits are among their greatest concerns.

Meritum Financial Group financial adviser Robert Goudie expected the budget would affect every facet of society.

“It’s going to be a monster, this one,” he said.

“I expect we’re going to see a huge number of changes.”

He said the speculated increase in the retirement age to 70 would have a significant impact on how people planned their working lives.

“For some people, the thought of retiring at 70 might be a disaster to them,” he said.

He said Centrelink benefits were also becoming increasingly harder to get. 

“Significant job losses in the public sector seem to be coming through,” he said.

On Friday The Australian newspaper reported that the Australian Taxation Office would shed a further 3000 of its 25,000 employees. 

Last year it committed to axing almost 1000 jobs.

“The worry for me is that all of those employees have families, and more than likely a home loan – they’ve got commitments,” Mr Goudie said.

The fuel excise, which was frozen at 38.14 cents a litre in 2001, is also tipped to rise.

“Businesses and consumers will be paying those extra dollars out of their own pockets, which is going to have an impact on household budgets,” Mr Goudie said.

He was concerned about the effect of cutbacks on the broader economy.

“You can pull one lever and save costs, but the flipside to that is that people will reduce spending,” he said.

Budget 2014

Grain Producers Australia chairman Andrew Weidemann said the diesel fuel rebate was crucial for Wimmera growers and the agriculture industry.

“It helps up achieve less costs to our business in terms of farming activities,” he said.

“It is for equipment that doesn’t enter roadways. It is essential for Australian agriculture that the government arrange a place were the excise fits in.”

He said adding another tax on fuel would be frustrating

“We already have GST so essentially it’s a tax on a tax,” he said.

“If we need to raise revenue, we need to look at the GST rate – it was brought in for that reason.”

Mr Weidemann was also concerned about the Federal Government’s plan to increase tax for high income earners.

“Doing that wouldn’t win them any friends and from what I’ve heard, if it’s implemented, it would be a short-term government,” he said.

He would like to see more infrastructure investment in the budget.

Ultimately, Mr Goudie said Wimmera people would have to adapt to whatever was announced.

“Know your budget: know what’s coming in, know what your expenditure is and leave room so that you don’t find yourself in financial difficulty,” he said.

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