Commission of Audit: major recommendations

HEALTH

  • Force high-income earners to take out private health insurance and remove access to the private health insurance rebate
  • Introduce co-payments for all Medicare services: $15 per service for general patients and $5 per service for concession holders with payments reduced after 15 visits
  • Encourage states to introduce co-payments for emergency ward visits for non-urgent medical complaints
  • Increase co-payments by $5 for all medicines in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. No increase for concession card holders below the safety net threshold
  • Deregulate ownership and location rules for pharmacies

EDUCATION

  • Decrease Commonwealth contribution to higher education costs from 59 per cent to 45 per cent and increase the student share from 41 to 55 per cent
  • Partial or full deregulation of university fees
  • Increase interest rates on student (HELP) debt
  • Graduates repay HELP debt once they earn the minimum wage ($32,354)
  • Transfer all policy and funding responsibilities for schools to the states. Provide funding in three, non-transferable pools for public, Catholic and independent schools
  • Do not proceed with final two years of Gonski funding 
  • Abolish all Commonwealth vocational education and training programs including support for apprentices

AGE PENSION & AGED CARE

  • Link eligibility age to 77 per cent of life expectancy from 2033
  • Include the value of family home in an assets test for new pensioners, but with a high threshold
  • Peg the Age Pension to 28 per cent of Average Weekly Earnings after 15 years
  • Include the full value of the family home in the aged care means test
  • Limit carer payments to one payment per carer 
  • Introduce a $150,000 income test for carer payments

UNEMPLOYMENT AND THE MINIMUM WAGE

  • Scrap the national minimum wage in favour of a new Minimum Wage benchmark of 44 per cent of Average Weekly Earnings. States can set their own minimum wages
  • Single people aged 22-30 without dependents must relocate to high employment areas or lose access to unemployment benefits after 12 months
  • Toughen income testing for unemployment benefits

FAMILY PAYMENTS

  • Abolish Family Tax Benefit Part B
  • Tighten eligibility for Family Tax Benefit Part A, removing the base rate for higher income families

WELFARE AND DISABILITY

  • Slower phase-in of the National Disability Insurance Scheme
  • New Disability Support Pension (DSP) pegged to 28 per cent of Average Weekly Earnings
  • Introduce tougher means testing of DSP and end existing grandfathering arrangements
  • Outsource the Department of Human Service's payments system to the private sector

DEFENCE

  • Commission a new Defence White Paper 
  • Re-assess commitment to increase Defence spending to 2 per cent within a decade 
  • Increase transparency and control over new equipment projects
  • Reduce size of Defence headquarters to 1998 levels

PAID PARENTAL LEAVE AND CHILDCARE

  • Lower the Paid Parental Leave scheme wage replacement cap to $57,460
  • Scrap the child care rebate and child care benefit and replace them with a single, means-tested payment
  • Parents must be working, training or studying to receive childcare benefits

FOREIGN AID

  • Don't tie foreign aid spending to Gross National Income 
  • Don't increase above inflation

PUBLIC BROADCASTING

  • Benchmark ABC and SBS against each other and commercial broadcasters
  • Scrap the Australia Network

TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURE

  • Expand road user charges, especially for heavy vehicles
  • Reduce tied funding for state infrastructure projects by creating a single infrastructure funding pool
  • Introduce rolling strategic reviews of major spending programs

INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS

  • Consolidate 150 Commonwealth Indigenous programs into no more than seven programs

GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

  • Abolish 35 government bodies
  • Merge 6 bodies
  • Consolidate 57 bodies

PRIVATISATIONS

Short term: 

  • Snowy Hydro Limited
  • Australian Hearing Services
  • Defence Housing Australia
  • Australian Submarine Corporation

Medium term:

  • Australia Post
  • Australian Rail Track Corporation 
  • Royal Australian Mint

Long term:

  • NBN Co

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