The 2017 Budget was announced overnight, and it’s pretty clear to us who the Australian Government is targeting.
I mean, just look at this.
The bad stuff
On 1 April 2017, the Government introduced a PHA levy of 0.1 cents per kilogram of fresh avocados, as proposed by Avocados Australia, to support biosecurity management for the industry. There is a corresponding reduction of 0.1 cents in the existing avocado R&D levy rate from 3.0 cents per kilogram to 2.9 cents per kilogram.
That’s right, the price of avocados is rising. Sure, it’s only by 0.1 cents per kilo but if your average smashed avo on toast has about 75 grams – or half an avocado – and your average hipster eats at least one brunch a week, that’s at least the rent on a small understairs room in an inner-west apartment with black mould and rising damp for a whole year.
The Government will adjust the taxation of roll your own (RYO) tobacco and other products such as cigars, so that manufactured cigarettes and RYO tobacco cigarettes receive comparable tax treatment.
“Rolling your own” is not only a hipster institution, it’s an art. This price hike reflects both an attack on the core of hipster culture, and the arts as a whole. Should we expect any less from a Liberal Government, though?
Prepare your protest signs, people – this is one we need to take to the streets.
The good stuff
The Government will align the GST treatment of digital currency (such as Bitcoin) with money from 1 July 2017.
Digital currency is currently treated as intangible property for GST purposes. Consequently, consumers who use digital currencies as payment can effectively bear GST twice: once on the purchase of the digital currency and again on its use in exchange for other goods and services subject to GST. This measure will ensure purchases of digital currency are no longer subject to the GST.
Removing double taxation on digital currencies will remove an obstacle for the Financial Technology (Fintech) sector to grow in Australia. This measure is estimated to have a small but unquantifiable decrease in GST collections and associated payments to the States and Territories over the forward estimates period.
Finally, something for the common people. Now’s probably a good time to lobby your local cat cafe to accept Bitcoins, by the way. If you need to – make a change.org petition, and use the link in your next pinned tweet.
The Government will provide $90.2 million over five years from 2016-17 to enable the Australia Council to support the Arts sector by continuing to meet the higher demand for grants from artists and organisations.
The cost of this measure will be met by redirecting $80.2 million over four years from 2017-18 from the Department of Communications and the Arts.
Wait. There’s funding for the arts? Does Malcolm know? Did anyone approve this? Where does the funding come from again? Oh.
As previewed last week, the Government will provide funding of $6.1 million over two years from 2017-18 to support community radio stations in regional and metropolitan areas across Australia.
This measure will include $3.9 million to assist community radio broadcasters, including 13 regional stations, in the provision and rollout of digital radio services. A further $2.2 million will be provided to assist community radio broadcasters to meet the costs of infrastructure upgrades and other measures required to respond to the recent reorganisation of the 800 MHz band of spectrum by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
Mature-aged uni students and fans of the dulcet tones of your sister’s boyfriend Johnno from the American style fried chicken shop down the road, rejoice! There’s some cash in the budget to splash on hearing old mate chat about the most important of local issues.