Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Budget 2006 - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Budget 2006 - The Good

The existence of Desmond Benson, vox-popped in the budget special liftout in today's Age:

I'd like the tax system and the welfare system to be better organised so that people don't pay effective marginal tax rates of 70 per cent or higher. It doesn't impact on us and I think we're very lucky to have a high income (but) I think there are others who should get the benefits of any improvements becaue they deserve it more.

The Bad

This Official DHS Media Release (PDF):

As part of the 2006รข€“07 Federal Budget, Human Services Minister Joe Hockey MP today announced further details of the new health and social services access card.

The introduction of the new access card will cut some of the red tape involved in obtaining health and social services benefits, whilst delivering a more convenient, efficient and secure system for obtaining Government health and social services benefits.

...

The access card will be phased in over a two year registration period beginning in early 2008. From early 2010, people will only be able to access Government health and social services benefits if they have an access card.

The Ugly

This massive injection of funds into a single CentreLink program:


Estimated actual 2005-06
$'000
Budget estimate 2006-07
$'000
Departmental appropriations
Output Group 1.1 - Effective and Efficient delivery of Government services
250636,936
Subtotal Output Group 1.1250636,936

Page 92 - DHS Portfolio Budget Statements (PDF)

That might look like a 25400% spending increase - and cause you to wonder how the tax cuts are being funded - but it's a cheap little piece of hide-and-seek bureaucratic accounting. With all CentreLink expenditure for the future now billed as a single item, you have to wade through pages of detail to find out how much CentreLink is spending on Compliance Control.

I think I might come back to this one tomorrow, after I've given myself a few hours to find the right side of the bed again. Sod it - I'll give it until Monday.

(Cross-posted at Larvatus Prodeo)

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