Commission of Audit: major recommendations

PENSIOENRS, HEALTH, FAMILY PAYMENTS FACE CUTS UNDER REPORT

HEALTH

- Force high-income earners to take out private health insurance and remove access to the private health insurance rebate

- Introduce co-payments for all Medicare services: $15 per service for general patients and $5 per service for concession holders with payments reduced after 15 visits

- Encourage states to introduce co-payments for emergency ward visits for non-urgent medical complaints

- Increase co-payments by $5 for all medicines in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. No increase for concession card holders below the safety net threshold

- Deregulate ownership and location rules for pharmacies

EDUCATION

- Decrease Commonwealth contribution to higher education costs from 59 per cent to 45 per cent and increase the student share from 41 to 55 per cent

- Partial or full deregulation of university fees

- Increase interest rates on student (HELP) debt

- Graduates repay HELP debt once they earn the minimum wage ($32,354)

- Transfer all policy and funding responsibilities for schools to the states. Provide funding in three, non-transferable pools for public, Catholic and independent schools

- Do not proceed with final two years of Gonski funding 

- Abolish all Commonwealth vocational education and training programs including support for apprentices

AGE PENSION & AGED CARE

- Link eligibility age to 77 per cent of life expectancy from 2033

- Include the value of family home in an assets test for new pensioners, but with a high threshold

- Peg the Age Pension to 28 per cent of Average Weekly Earnings after 15 years

- Include the full value of the family home in the aged care means test

- Limit carer payments to one payment per carer 

- Introduce a $150,000 income test for carer payments

UNEMPLOYMENT AND THE MINIMUM WAGE

- Scrap the national minimum wage in favour of a new Minimum Wage benchmark of 44 per cent of Average Weekly Earnings. States can set their own minimum wages

- Single people aged 22-30 without dependents must relocate to high employment areas or lose access to unemployment benefits after 12 months

- Toughen income testing for unemployment benefits

FAMILY PAYMENTS

- Abolish Family Tax Benefit Part B

- Tighten eligibility for Family Tax Benefit Part A, removing the base rate for higher income families

WELFARE AND DISABILITY

- Slower phase-in of the National Disability Insurance Scheme

- New Disability Support Pension (DSP) pegged to 28 per cent of Average Weekly Earnings

- Introduce tougher means testing of DSP and end existing grandfathering arrangements

- Outsource the Department of Human Service's payments system to the private sector

DEFENCE

- Commission a new Defence White Paper 

- Re-assess commitment to increase Defence spending to 2 per cent within a decade 

- Increase transparency and control over new equipment projects

- Reduce size of Defence headquarters to 1998 levels

PAID PARENTAL LEAVE AND CHILDCARE

- Lower the Paid Parental Leave scheme wage replacement cap to $57,460

- Scrap the child care rebate and child care benefit and replace them with a single, means-tested payment

- Parents must be working, training or studying to receive childcare benefits

FOREIGN AID

- Don't tie foreign aid spending to Gross National Income 

- Don't increase above inflation

PUBLIC BROADCASTING

- Benchmark ABC and SBS against each other and commercial broadcasters

- Scrap the Australia Network

TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURE

- Expand road user charges, especially for heavy vehicles

- Reduce tied funding for state infrastructure projects by creating a single infrastructure funding pool

- Introduce rolling strategic reviews of major spending programs

INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS

- Consolidate 150 Commonwealth Indigenous programs into no more than seven programs

GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

- Abolish 35 government bodies

- Merge 6 bodies

- Consolidate 57 bodies

PRIVATISATIONS

Short term: 

- Snowy Hydro Limited

- Australian Hearing Services

- Defence Housing Australia

- Australian Submarine Corporation

Medium term:

- Australia Post

- Australian Rail Track Corporation 

- Royal Australian Mint

Long term:

- NBN Co

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