Health, Education hit in Abbott Govt’s first budget

Joe Hockey
Joe Hockey

The Abbott Government’s fist budget brings an unprecedented $80 billion cut to health and education spending over the next decade. The other affected are  age pensioners, seniors concession card holders, family  payments and people on the disability support pension .

In the document ,  there were  few surprises and little good news other than a new $20 billion medical research  fund – to come from a $5 contribution by patients when visiting the doctor. Each visit will cost $7, with the other $2 going to the doctor.

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Budget at a glance:


  •  Budget deficit: $29.8 billion in 2014-15 (to $2.8 billion in 2017-18)
  • Unemployment forecast: 6.25% in 2014-15
  • Economic growth: 2.5% in 2014-15


  • Complete deregulation of university fees
  • Commonwealth funding extended to students at TAFEs, private colleges and sub-bachelor degrees at a cost of $820 million over three years
  • Labor’s ‘Gonski’ school funding commitments scrapped from 2017-18 with school funding indexed to inflation from 2018
  • School chaplaincy program continued at a cost of $243.5 million over five years


  • All Australians to pay at least $7 for GP visits, blood tests and X-rays.
  • General patients to pay $5 more and concessional patients 80¢ more for prescription drugs.
  • Billions slashed from hospitals, which will be free to charge for emergency department


  • Age pension age to reach 70 by July 1, 2035
  • Pension means test thresholds to be frozen for 3 years
  • Tougher income test for self funded retirees to receive Commonwealth Seniors Health Card


  • Enforced six month waiting period for under-30s signing on for the dole. After first six months on dole they will again be cut off for a six month period
  • Tightened eligibility criteria for disability support pensioners under 35
  • Newstart recipients aged between 22 and 25 will be pushed back onto the lower-value Youth Allowance (other) payment

Public service

  • 16,500 full-time jobs gone in three years
  • Tax Office suffers biggest hit; Department of Human Services one of few winners
  • Razor gang to target the bureaucracy’s spin doctors


  • $2.55 billion over 10 years for the Emissions Reduction Fund
  • At least $2 billion in cuts to programs and scrapping of environmental agencies
  • $525 million for a “green army”, $40 million over four years for the Great Barrier Reef, and $2.1 million for solar projects in local communities


  • Total defence spending to rise, with fast-tracking of $1.5 billion for new hardware
  • 1200 Defence bureaucrat jobs to go
  • MH370 search to cost Defence nearly $28 million


  • ABC-operated Australia Network to close, saving $198 million over four years
  • Combined cuts to ABC and SBS of $43.5 million over four years
  • $10 million for children’s safety online including a “Children’s e-Safety Commissioner”
  • $100 million for mobile blackspot and wireless coverage in regional areas


  • Merging of Customs and Immigration will cost $480 million with 480 jobs lost
  • Asylum seekers who have arrived by boat will lose the right to have their case independently reviewed or to have family reunions
  • Stopping the boats will save $2.5 billion over five years

Foreign Affairs

  • Foreign aid frozen at current levels for two years, helping save $7.6 billion over five years
  • International commitment to spend 0.5 per cent of gross national income on foreign aid abandoned
  • $400 million saved over four years by folding the former AusAID into the Foreign Affairs Department


  • Four more government-owned businesses to be sold: Australian Hearing, Defence Housing Australia, the Royal Australian Mint, and the registry arm of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission
  • Proceeds will be reinvested into the government’s Asset Recycling Fund to help build new productive infrastructure

Indigenous affairs

  • More than half a billion dollars saved over five years by rationalising indigenous services and transferring more than 150 programs into just five, run out of the PM’s department
  • More than $54 million for police infrastructure in remote communities
  • More than $13 million for the Clontarf Foundation Academy’s Sporting Chance program and more than $18 million to continue boosting school attendance in remote communities


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About Ashok Kumar

Ashok Kumar is an accomplished journalist with over 38 years of experience in the profession in various capacities. He was a sub-editor in Patriot and later Chief Sub-editor in The Hindustan Times, New Delhi. He has several published articles and reports in Patriot and HT. Published reports in The Blacktown Sun in Sydney. He had also been a tutor in journalism in the University of Western Sydney. He is currently Editor at The Indian Sub-continent Times, Sydney.

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