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
Budget estimate 2006-07
Departmental appropriations
Output Group 1.1 - Effective and Efficient delivery of Government services
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)

One For Dave

My registration at Friends Reunited finally paid off last night - I got an e-mail telling me that I had a message from an ex-schoolmate at Greenfields High who I more or less liked. He was part of the same hopeless-at-footy-and-cricket, Doctor-Who-and-Goon-Show-fan, totally-fringe-weirdo crowd that I was in for my last three years of high school.

I'm not sure I should have written that last sentence - by way of an answer to his question about what I've been up to in the last thirty-three years I sent him the address of this blog and that other one, where some, but not all, of the grubby details of my life since school are laid bare for all the world to see. With the emphasis on grubby, since that's the font et origo of most of the stuff I pass off as humour.

It's about time that registration at Friends Reunited paid off. OK, so the past four years I've been getting what I paid for - a list of footy-and-cricket-adept boofheads with whom I had little in common then, even less now, and one or two people who might be worth contacting. And some interesting where are they now stuff which generally shows that the kids who got streamed out of school in Form 4, or earlier, and went off to seek opportunities elsewhere, often did a lot better in life than us mugs who stuck out the full sentence in the hope of achieving academic excellence. My favourite example of that is the totally dysfunctional kid who joined the army as an apprentice, worked his way up to Major, and went overseas a couple of times on peacekeeping operations.

That's enough of that for now - I've got to see if I can track down a hand cranked laundry mangle on E-Bay. I'm going to need one if I adopt one suggestion I got in response to this post at Larvatus Prodeo that I cut down my laudromat costs by hand-washing everything - including towels and bed linen. If I can't find one, I'll probably have to go all third world and find a stretch of the Moonee Ponds Creek where I can bang the sheets on the bikepath or the concrete embankment.