Although the biggest thing expected to happen in the first quarter of this year is the likely rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine, there are a number of notable changes to policies, regulations and laws to be aware of.
Notably JobKeeper payments will be reduced from $1200 to $1000 a fortnight for full-time workers and from $750 to $650 a fortnight for part-time workers from January 4.
The scheme is scheduled to draw to a close on March 28.
IN OTHER NEWS:
The JobSeeker coronavirus supplement will be reduced from $250 a fortnight to $150 from January 1.
Australian Council of Social Service chief executive Cassandra Goldie said the number of people on JobSeeker doubled to 1.5 million during the pandemic.
She said the number of people in receipt of the payment was expected to rise by more when JobKeeper ends in March.
Employers will be able to make their first claim for the JobMaker hiring credit in February.
The credit will give employers $200 a week for each eligible employee aged between 16 and 29 and $100 a week for each eligible employee aged 30 to 35.
The credit will be paid for each job they create over 12 months from October 7 last year.
Eligible employees must have worked an average of at least 20 hours per week over the quarter and must have been in receipt of an income support payment before they were hired.
Age-pensioners will receive their second $250 cash payment in March as detailed in the 2020-21 federal budget.
The first payment should have been received in December.
Temporary debt relief measures will be cut back from January 1.
According to the Australian Financial Security Authority, the minimum debt threshold required for creditors to apply for a bankruptcy notice against a debtor will reduce from $20,000 to $10,000.
The maximum age of dependents on family private health insurance policies will be raised from 24 to 31 years in April.
There will be no age limits for dependents with a disability.
A study by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare last year found the proportion of the country's population with the lowest private health coverage were aged between 25 and 29 years old.
The number of psychological services to receive support from Medicare will double from 10 visits to 20 this year.
The subsidy can be accessed after completion of a mental health plan with a general practitioner.
Paid parental leave requirements are set to change in 2021.
Parent who give birth to, or adopt, a child between March 22 last year and March 31 this year will be able to receive the payment if they had worked in 10 of the 20 months prior.
Previously to qualify, a parent would have had to have worked 10 or the 13 months prior to a birth or an adoption.
The measure is estimated to allow about 9000 mothers to regain eligibility for paid parental leave.
The moratorium on rental evictions and rent price increases will end on January 31.
The protections, designed to protect renters from evictions for nonpayment of rent due to financial hardship by way of the coronavirus pandemic, were introduced in March.
Data from the Justice Department last month showed as of December 11 there was $251,787 in rental arrears listed as owed through applications to the Landlord Support Fund.
As of that date, $967,451 had been paid to 1128 tenants from the Rental Relief Fund and $756,351 had been paid to 800 tenants from the Rental Relief Extra Support Fund.
As of 11 December, $428,417 had been paid to 323 landlords from the Landlord Support Fund and $87,541 had been paid to 58 landlords from the Landlord Extra Support Fund.
HomeBuilder Grants on offer from the state and federal governments will close on March 31.
The state grant provides $20,000 to homebuilders with eligible contracts for new builds signed between June 4 and March 31.
The Commonwealth grant provides $15,000 for contracts signed between January 1 and March 31, or $25,000 for contracts signed between June 4 and December 31.
Applicants have six months from the date of their signed contract to commence construction.
As of November 27, there had been 858 applications for the federal HomeBuilder Grant received.
Of these applications, 736 were for new home builds and 122 for substantial renovations.
There were 530 applications received for the Tasmanian HomeBuilder grant.
The state and federal grants can be used by applicants in conjunction with each other.
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