As it is traditionally the case, many new federal laws come into effect on the first day of a new year. There are a number of changes on the Commonwealth books on January 1 this year that might be of interest:
Passports more expensive: It’s a good cash cow for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; a five-year passport up $3 to $142, and a 10-year one by $5 to $282.
Foreign cars: To coincide with the end of local car manufacturing in Australia, the $12,000 special duty on imported used vehicles gets axed.
Against welfare fraud: Single parent payments recipients now face greater scrutiny in verifying their relationship status to make sure they are entitled to the payments.
Gonski 2.0: Schools start shifting to the new funding model, with a six-year transition for currently underfunded schools and a 10-year transition for over-funded schools.
HECS cap: In order to keep in check the mushrooming student debt owed to the Commonwealth under HECS and other student loan schemes, a lifetime limit will be capped at $104,444 for most students and $150,000 for medicine, dentistry and veterinary science students.
Housing unaffordability: New homeowners can no longer claim a tax deduction for the cost of inspecting and maintaining rental properties.