You’re no doubt coming off the wave of Christmas festivities and are bracing yourself for the resolutions of a bright and shiny New Year. It’s going to be a cracker… Especially when you take into account all of those things that will have you thinking doubly hard about where to spend your hard-earned nest egg. You see it’s not just the changes to the Age Pension or superannuation that you need to be aware of in 2017. From the cost of seeing your dentist to petrol and power, there are a whole bunch of new laws, regulations and fees kicking off on January 1.
The new asset test for the Age Pension will come into effect on January 1, 2017. It will mean that more than 300,000 part-pensioners will either endure a cut to their payment or will lose access entirely. Yet, it has also been claimed that if you have ‘modest assets’ you are likely to receive an average rise of around $30 a fortnight. Under the new asset test thresholds the rate at which your pension payments will be reduced will double from $1.50 to $3 for every $1,000 in assets owned above the following thresholds:
You might also like to investigate how the changes will affect your access to such discounts as council rates and public transport too.
It’s official, power bills are set to rise from January 1. If you live in South Australia it is likely you will notice the changes most, with at least $150 a year expected to be added to your household power bill. Victorians should expect to pay around $100 more. Western Australia, Tasmania, New South Wales, the ACT and the Northern Territory will all likely receive an additional $78 added to their bills. However, Queenslanders are said to be expecting only an extra $28.
Almost 340,000 Australians will lose access to free public dental services when the new federal funding scheme kicks off in 2017. Announced in November by health minister Sussan Ley, a $2.1 billion Child and Adult Public Dental Scheme will not be going ahead in the new year.
The ethanol mandate will commence in the new year and if you’re still driving your car around it’s likely you’ll experience hikes to petrol prices. According to a report by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in November, the ethanol mandate in New South Wales has cost motorists around $75-85 million a year. The mandate forces service stations to stock E10 fuel or face heavy fines, but with the limited availability of 91 octane regular many motorists are being forced to fuel up with the more expensive 95 and 98 octane premium unleaded petrols.
If you need notarial services — such as verifying and certifying documents or witnessing the execution of a will — it is going to cost you more from 2017, with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade set to increase its fees. While the fees haven’t increased in more than a decade, the department says “The new fee schedule takes into account the rate of inflatio in Australia since the fees were last increased, the growing cost of delivery notarial services and rising demand”.