'Missing' figures show poor are hit
Information withheld from Tuesday night's budget shows that
high-income couples will suffer scarcely at all while low-income
families on benefits lose as much as 10 per cent of their incomes.
Inserted into the 2005 budget by then treasurer Peter
Costello and included in every budget since, the table is usually titled
''Detailed family outcomes''. It sets out the way in which the budget
measures make different types of families better or worse off.
Joe Hockey's budget is the first since 2005 without it.
ANU public policy experts Peter Whiteford and Daniel Nethery
have crunched the numbers on all the personal tax and benefit changes in
the budget to replicate the missing table.
Their findings, published by Fairfax Media on Monday, show
Australians on benefits suffer far more from the budget than those on
The worst off is an unemployed 23-year-old whose income will
slide 18.3 per cent as a result of the budget. A single parent on the
parenting payment with a child aged six will be 10.2 per cent worse off.
In contrast, an Australian earning three times the average
wage will lose just 0.9 per cent of their take-home income. A
high-income childless couple earning $360,000 a year will lose nothing
''These calculations are conservative,'' Professor Whiteford
writes. ''They do not take into account the proposed abolition of the
schoolkids bonus as this is not a new budget initiative. They do not
deduct rent or childcare.''
Partly offsetting the personal tax and benefit changes will
be the abolition of the carbon tax. Professor Whiteford says the gains
from this change are tilted towards low-income earners but will ''offset
less than one-fifth of the losses for the unemployed''.
The biggest loser among parents is a single parent on Newstart with a child aged eight, whose income will slide 12.2 per cent.
All the figures prepared by Professor Whiteford and Mr
Nethery are presented as changes to 2016-17 disposable incomes because
that's when most of the budget measures will have come into effect.
What's striking is that the number of dollars lost a week
varies little with income. The loss to a single 23-year old on Newstart
is $47 a week, close to $67 is lost by a two-income couple with three
children taking home between them 133 per cent of the average wage.
Asked why the Treasurer excluded the table from the 2014
budget, a spokeswoman for Mr Hockey said the government had been
transparent about the changes in the documents that accompanied the