New Laws, Changes Coming into Australia on July 1 2019 and How They Affect You

Australians are about to see a raft of changes come in from July 1 that will alter how people study, commute to and from work and how foreigners come to Australia.

See the changes afoot for university students, carers, the NDIS and immigration visas.

More locally, there are changes coming for toll road charges across the nation, car registration and insurance, and those selling or giving away pets will also have strict rules to adhere to from next week.

From July 1, the new minimum HELP repayment threshold will be $45,881 with a one per cent repayment rate.

A further 17 thresholds and repayment rates will also be introduced, up to a top threshold of $134,573 at which ten per cent of income is repayable.

HELP repayment thresholds will be indexed using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) instead of Average Weekly Earnings to ensure repayments are in line with cost of living.

Student Financial Supplement Scheme (SFSS) debts will be repaid after HELP debts are discharged. Currently, SFSS debts are paid concurrently with HELP debts.

The repayment thresholds for SFSS will also be brought into line with the HELP repayment thresholds from 2019—20, instead of the current three-tier repayment threshold.

SAFE TRAVEL FOR ABSTUDY STUDENTS

From July 1, primary or secondary students under 18 must have a Safe Travel plan, otherwise they will not get an ABSTUDY Fares Allowance for pre-booked travel.

NEW PAYMENTS FOR CARERS

Carers may be able to get a new Carer Supplement payment up to $600 from July 1 for each eligible person in their care. They may also be able to access a Child Disability Assistance Payment which can be up to $1,000 for each eligible child in their care.

NDIS PRICE INCREASES

The Federal Government announced an increase to price limits for therapists of almost $11 an hour, and a rise of up to 15.4 per cent for attendant care and community participation under the NDIS from July 1. These increases will inject more than $850 million into the NDIS market in 2019-20.

IMMIGRATION VISA FEES

The Department of Home Affairs announced that a 5.4 per cent Visa Application Charges (VAC) increase in fees will apply to applications made on or after July 1 on most visa subclasses. For example a student visa will increase from $505 to $606, a general skilled migration visa will rise from $3755 to $3958 and a partner visa will increase from $7160 to $7457.

WORK AND HOLIDAY VISAS

The Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa program is changing to address labour shortages in regional Australia. WHM holders who complete six months of work in regional areas while on their second Working Holiday (subclass 417) visa or Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa may be eligible to apply for a third visa from July 1.

TOLL CHANGES AND REGO

*In NSW, drivers who spend $15 or more a week on tolls will be eligible for half-priced rego. Drivers who spend $25 or more a week on tolls will continue to receive free rego from July 1.

On July 1, tolls for the Eastern Distributor (Northbound) will increase to $7.69 for cars and $15.37 for other motorists.

On the Hills M2, the Main Toll Plaza toll will be $7.60 for cars, and $22.80 for others. On the Pennant Hills Road, Herring Road and Christie Road ramps, cars will pay $3.80 and others will pay $11.40. On the Windsor Road ramps, cars will pay $2.70 and others will fork out $8.07. On Lane Cove Road, cars will pay $2.24 while others will pay $6.74.

On the Lane Cove Tunnel, only trucks will have an increased toll to $10.68 and the Military Road E-Ramp will be $5.34.

In Victoria, taxi tolls will increase on CityLink and EastLink. On CityLink, the Western and Southern Link will be $6.40 each. Both links will be $8.45. A CityLink Metro Taxi Pass (day toll for a metropolitan taxi) will be $18.12, and CityLink Rural Taxi Pass will be $7. Batman Ave only has no toll. On EastLink, Melba Tunnel or Mullum Mullum Tunnel will cost $2.93, any part of EastLink south of Maroondah Highway will be $2.75, one tunnel plus any part of EastLink south of Maroondah Highway will cost $5.68, the Ringwood Bypass has no toll and an EastLink trip pass (for regional/rural taxis) will cost $6.36.

Melbourne city and traffic at Batman Ave. Picture: Mark Stewart

*In Queensland, toll changes come into force on July 1 on the Gateway and Logan motorways. For cars, the Murarrie on the Gateway Motorway toll will cost $4.62.

Kuraby/Compton Road on the Gateway Extension Motorway will cost $2.72, Loganlea on the Logan Motorway will be $1.75 and Heathwood/Paradise Road on the Logan Motorway will cost $2.88. For heavy commercial vehicles, the Murarrie on the Gateway Motorway will cost $14.18, Kuraby/Compton Road on the Gateway Extension Motorway will be $8.37, Loganlea on the Logan Motorway will be $5.36 and Heathwood/Paradise Road on the Logan Motorway will cost $8.85.

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