Being an election year, this Australian Budget is full of sweeteners, but some will do better than others.

Here are the biggest winners and losers this year.


Middle-income earners

There are tax cuts promised for working Aussies starting from those earning AU$18,200 a year, but most of the tax relief flows to the middle income earners.


Those on AU$48,000 to AU$90,000 a year, will get a tax cut of AU$550.
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This announcement doubles the tax cuts announced last year. With both sets of cuts taken together, singles will receive a maximum AU$1080 in tax relief based on 2017-18 levels, and dual income families will receive a maximum AU$2160 cash back.

The average full-time worker earning between AU$80,000 and AU$90,000, so millions of Aussies will be able to enjoy this cash splash.


This budget is positively oozing with money for infrastructure. In total, the Australian government is throwing AU$15 billion at new road and rail projects.

The standout item is a AU$2 billion fast rail connection between Geelong and Melbourne. It will be the fastest train in Australia, with an average speed of 160km/h, and will cut commuters' travel time in half to 32 minutes.

The Australian Government is looking to alleviate congestion. Photo/Getty Images.
The Australian Government is looking to alleviate congestion. Photo/Getty Images.

The government is funding business cases for five more fast rail proposals in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.

It is also quadrupling the Urban Congestion Fund to AU$4 billion, a big chunk of which will be used to improve parking facilities around train stations. If you wish you could commute by driving to the station and hopping on a train, but can never find any parking, you're in luck.


The government believes tens of thousands of cars a day could be taken off the road by this idea, easing congestion in the capital cities.

Small businesses

The government is fast-tracking planned tax cuts for small and medium businesses by five years. The tax rate will come down from 27.5 per cent to 26 per cent next year and 25 per cent starting in 2021.

Fast-tracking the tax cuts will benefit around 970,000 companies that employ around 5.2 million workers.

The instant asset write-off has also been extended and expanded. It will now cover purchases under AU$30,000, up from AU$25,000, and can be used by businesses with annual turnover of under AU$50 million, up from AU$10 million previously.

Around 22,000 additional businesses employing around 1.7 million people will now be eligible for the tax write-off, which can now be used "every time an asset under that amount is purchased".


Struggling farmers

There's a lot of cash for regional areas, particularly farmers who are struggling with drought and floods.

A total of AU$6.3 billion is committed to helping them. That includes relatively large initiatives, such as AU$200 million to increase access to income support, and smaller ones, such as a AU$2.5 million increase in funding to support farmers' mental health and wellbeing.

The government says it is working with banks to provide AU$1.75 billion in low cost loans and provide lower interest rates to flood-affected farmers.

There will be an additional AU$300 million in grants this year to help flood-affected farmers in North Queensland rebuild, replace livestock and replant crops, adding to the AU$232 million in relief that had already been made available. These grants will be exempt from income tax.

And to safeguard against future droughts and floods, the government is spending AU$3.9 billion to create and Emergency Response Fund, which will which will provide a stable source of money to prepare for and react to natural disasters.


Cashed-up retirees

Older Australians will get some nice perks from this year's Budget. They'll now be able to put money into super for longer, even if they are not working.

Currently, anyone aged between 65 and 74 must work at least 40 hours a month if they want to make voluntary contributions to their super. But from July 1, 2020, the age limit will be increased so those aged 66 and 67 can make extra payments into super even if they are not working.

Struggling farmers are among the winners in this year's budget. Photo/Getty Images.
Struggling farmers are among the winners in this year's budget. Photo/Getty Images.

Anyone aged under 67 will also be allowed to make up to three years worth of voluntary contributions in one year. This means they will be able to put up to AU$300,000 in their account in one year (if they haven't put any other extra money into super in three years).

Those lucky seniors who have a partner willing to contribute to their super, will also be able to do this for longer. They will now be able to get spouse contributions up to the age of 74, rather than 70.

Those who are sick or struggling with mental health


There's lots of money going towards health and mental health including AU$308.9 million for improving the accessibility of services like x-rays and ultrasounds.

Out-of-pocket costs for these scans will also be reduced and the costs of some medications will also be reduced.

Five drugs have been amended or added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and two lifesaving drugs used to treat Hereditary Tyrosinaemia Type-1 and Batten Disease will be available for free.

A grants program to improve outcomes for Australians living with chronic disease will be established, there's money for diabetes research, and the government has a AU$5 billion Medical Research Fund to go towards clinical trials and other research.

When it comes to mental health, about AU$229.9 million over seven years will be provided. This will help fund the trial of eight mental health centres.

About AU$6.1 million will be provided for the establishment of Grace's Place, a residential trauma recovery centre for children, and AU$5 million for a purpose-built at Repatriation General Hospital, Adelaide to help people with eating disorders.


Another AU$263.3 will be provided from 2018/19 to improve access to youth mental health services.


High-income earners

Tax cuts are a big selling point for this Budget, but sadly, really, really high income earners miss out. If you earn over AU$126,000 there's nothing for you this financial year.

They were handed a modest AU$135 cut last year, though.

Big business

While the Budget has offered tax relief for small to medium-sized businesses, there are no sweeteners for the top end of town.

The Australian Governement is eager to ensure big businesses pay their fair share. Photo/Getty Images.
The Australian Governement is eager to ensure big businesses pay their fair share. Photo/Getty Images.

If a business pulls in more than AU$50 million, there are no tax cuts. In fact, the government will be cracking down on big businesses who avoid tax and make sure they pay their fair share.

First home buyers

For the second year in a row, I'm sorry first-home buyers, this is not a Budget for you. The Treasurer clearly understands housing affordability is an issue, he's said in his speech it's a priority for the government, but that seems to have played out more in favour of community housing. There's nothing here to make it easier to save a deposit or buy a first home.

People on the dole

Recipients of Newstart — the welfare payment for jobseekers — weren't expecting to come out on top in this Budget. The payment hasn't been increased for more than decades, despite calls from welfare advocates and economists.

But as well as not receiving a boost, those on the unemployment allowance have this time missed out on the government's energy assistance payment, which goes to other welfare recipients.


The payment of $75 for singles and $125 for couples to assist households with their power bills will be paid into the bank accounts of veterans, carers, single parents, aged pensioners and people receiving the disability support pension.