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Joe's mixed bag

CHOICE says the budget is sweet and sour for consumers

12 May 2015

Consumer group CHOICE has labelled the 2015–16 federal budget a mixed result, saying some consumers will see benefits but others will be hit hard.

"Given the range controversial measures in last year's budget, many consumers have been holding their breath to see what the 2015 budget had in store," says CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland. "The budget delivers good outcomes for some households, but not all. The changes announced are complex and will affect different households in very different ways."

CHOICE has taken some of the confusion of out of tonight's changes with a budget navigation tool available at budget2015.choice.com.au

"The budget has some clear winners and losers. Most families will receive an increase in support to cover childcare costs but their children will grow up to pay significantly more for university as the government remains committed to fee deregulation."

"A number of stay at home parents will no longer be eligible for childcare subsidies. However, the government has committed to another two years of funding for pre-school for every child."

"Fewer retirees will be eligible for the aged pension due to a tougher assets test from 2017 but around 170,000 retirees who remain on the pension are likely to receive more as the assets-free threshold has increased."

"While some measures are targeted, other measures will affect everyone in a small way. The GST will now apply to online purchases from overseas sites, with consumers likely to pay a little more for services like Netflix and phone apps. There's also been a change to agricultural production levies which means shoppers are likely to see a small increase in price on bananas, honey, eggs and chicken meat."

CHOICE's pre-budget nationally representative Consumer Pulse report found high levels of concern that the budget would lead to cuts and costs for households.1

"The CHOICE Consumer Pulse survey found that 67% of people in April were concerned about the impact of the budget. Some people can now breathe a sigh of relief. But not everyone."

1. The survey was designed and analysed by CHOICE with fieldwork by GMI/Lightspeed Research conducted with 1049 consumers aged 18–75 years between 17 and 24 March 2015. Final data has been weighted to ensure it is representative of the Australian population based on the ABS Census 2011. Cost of living questions about people's concerns with expenses is based on the total population including people who do not have a given expense. We have done this to represent the overall views of Australians.

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