From the pension to health, government policies rolling out this year

Malcolm Turnbull's government has set the laws in motion. Source: Getty.

There are a raft of new laws to be rolled out this year, which could impact many Australian families, right across the country. 

From welfare and health, to education, housing, and gay marriage, there are a wealth of changes set to hit Australia – and many will impact day to day life.

The new legislation will be spread right across 2018, with some laws being introduced in the coming weeks.

Here’s a look at some which could affect you:

Housing

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From January 1, the strata building bond and inspections scheme will be effective.

According to the NSW Fair Trading website, developers will need to lodge a bond of two per cent for “residential and mixed-use high-rise strata buildings of four storeys or more” – which will be held to then pay for the costs of rectifying any possible defective construction work.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, it means the end of new home owners claiming the cost of inspecting and maintaining rental properties as tax deductable. 

For more information, visit the Fair Trading website.

Pensions

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From July 1, anyone wanting to receive an Age Pension or Disability Support Pension (DSP) will need to meet certain requirements.

According to news.com.au, they will need 10 continuous years of Australian residence including at least five years during their Australian working life.

Alternatively, they could have 10 continuous years of Australian residence and “proof they have not received activity tested income support for cumulative periods of five years or more”.

Finally, they’re fine to receive it if they have 15 years of continuous Australian residence.

Find more information on the government’s human services website.

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Over-the-counter codeine prescription only

The Government is set to ban pharmacists from selling over-the-counter codeine-based pills, unless you have a prescription.

The move, which is due to be rolled out on February 1, means common pain relief pills such as Nurofen Plus, Panadeine, Mersyndol and Codral will now be prescription-only, the Daily Telegraph reports.

It’s a bid to reduce the amount of deaths from addiction or overdoses, amid claims 100 people die in Australia every year from codeine overdoses.

Read more: Over-the-counter codeine pills to be BANNED without prescription

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Welfare

People claiming single parent payments will now have to have their relationships verified to make sure they are not claiming income support they are not entitled to.

According to news.com.au, youth allowance will rise by at least $4.60 and student payments by $8.30, while disability support will increase by more than $7.

Meanwhile, carers will now receive an extra $2.40 a fortnight, keeping in line with inflation.

A huge $10 million will be set aside for treatment services for job seekers affected by proposed drug testing trials.

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Passport costs

Anyone purchasing a 10-year Australian passport will pay $282, an increase of $5, while a five-year passport has gone up to $142.

New medication added to PBS – including cancer treatment

New cancer drugs that could potentially extend the lives of sufferers across Australia have been listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

And while one of the drugs previously cost more than $100,000 – it will now be available for people to purchase for as little as $6.40.

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Health Minister Greg Hunt announced the listing of cancer medicines alectinib (brand name Alecensa) and carfilzomib (also named Kyprolis).

Carfilzomib helps fight relapsed refractory multiple myeloma, a plasma cell cancer which can prevent healthy cells working the way they should and lead to weaker bones or bone tumours.

Meanwhile Alectinib helps fight a form of lung cancer by targeting and blocking receptors found on the cancer cells, which could cause cells to grow and divide too fast – therefore preventing the possible growth of tumours.

Mannitol has also been added for those with cystic fibrosis.

Read more: Cancer drugs that could ‘extend lives’ now available on PBS

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Education Amendment

Schools will now shift to the Gonski 2.0 funding model, which will be overseen by the National School Resourcing Board. 

There will be a six-year transition for underfunded schools and a 10-year transition for over-funded schools, news.com.au reports.

Separation between school sectors began on January 1, with funding now calculated based on need, regardless of the location or type of school.

In addition, Commonwealth funding for universities will be frozen at 2017 levels for two years, while student payments for vocational education and training (VET) will be restricted to courses deemed a high national priority.

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The site adds: “Lifetime limits on Commonwealth assistance towards tuition fees will be capped at $104,444 for most students and $150,000 for medicine, dentistry and veterinary science students.”

New laws also mean students returning from overseas or living abroad will no longer be offered relocation scholarships.

Vaccination changes

From the New Year, children who aren’t vaccinated due to their parent’s “conscientious objection” will no longer be able to be enrolled in childcare.

The law was put in place to strengthen the importance of vaccinations, reduce disease, and strengthen vaccination enrolment requirements in childcare.

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The NSW Health website explains it will now be an offence for principals to fail to comply with enrolment requirements, and for a person to forge a vaccination certificate.

Children who can’t be vaccinated due to health reasons or age will not be included in the new law.

Children enrolled in formal schooling, including after school care on site, and services providing education and care on a temporary or casual basis, will also be exempt.

Same sex marriage

It sparked debate around the country, and millions of people celebrated the news as it was announced just weeks ago.

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Same sex couples will now be able to legalise their marriage from January 9.

Child care

Parents will have access to a New Child Care Package from July 2, 2018.

Then, a new Child Care Subsidy (CCS) will replace the current Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate.

It’s designed to be simpler than the current multi-payment system, while offering more help to low and middle income families. 

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To be eligible, the child must be aged 13 years or under and not attending secondary school, while meeting vaccination requirements – while the family must meet residency requirements.

In addition, there will be new laws for plastic bags, debit cards, taxes, entitlement, superannuation, migration visas and more.

What do you think of the new laws? Will they affect your life?