Budget 2015: five biggest winners and losers (overseas HECS and HELP crackdown)

Budget 2015: five biggest winners and losers (overseas HECS and HELP crackdown)

There’s some tasty carrots, but this Budget is not good news if you live and work overseas. HECS and HELP is about to catch up with you.

The biggest winners from this year’s Australian Budget are national security and small businesses. Former university students living overseas are also about to feel the pinch with a crackdown on HECS and HELP.


Researchers –Scientific and Medical

  • The National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy was refunded for $300 million for two years
  • Medical researchers received $400 million for research projects

Small businesses

  • Businesses with annual turnover less than $2 million can claim a 100% tax deduction for every item up to a value of $20,000 they purchase, starting from budget night.
  • Smaller, unincorporated businesses will see a five percent tax discount
  • Start-ups can immediately deduct expenses incurred when setting up their company (such as legal fees)

Rural Australia

  • Farmers in drought-affected areas will:
    • Receive $35 million through a new grants system
    • Have $25 million available to counter pest animals
    • Receive $250 million to continue the Drought Concessional Loan Scheme
    • Receive $20 million towards community support services for an extra 20 local government areas and $1.8 million for more counsellors
  • Cattle farmers in the north will receive $101.3 million in funds over four years to improve road infrastructure for cattle supply chains.

National Security

  • $450 million will go towards resources for various intelligence agencies:
    • $296 million of that will go toward enhancing the technological capabilities of Australia’s intelligence-gathering agencies
    • $50 million of that will go toward training the new Australian Border Force’s officers
  • $22 million will go toward social media monitoring to help counter online extremism (such as extremist dogmal from groups like Islamic State)
  • $131 million will go to the telecommunications industry to help cost of keeping customers’ metadata for two years (new metadata collection law)

Disadvantaged families

  • $3.5 billion will be allocated over five years to help access to child care.
  • Parents will be able to access Child Care Subsidy from 1 July 2017 where families earning $65,000 or less will have 85 percent of their fees subsidised.


Australians overseas

  • Australians overseas with government HELP debts will have to contribute a portion of their income to loan repayments from July 2017
  • Australians overseas with a HELP debt will have to register with the ATO before July 2017
  • University graduates living overseas will have to repay HECS debt
  • Australian pensioners will have the rate of their payments cut after being overseas for six weeks (as opposed to 26 weeks)


  • Visitors on a working holiday will now have to pay tax at 32.5% on every dollar they earn up to $80,000 (no more $18,000 tax free threshold)

Online Consumers

  • “Netflix tax” is estimated to raise $350 million
  • Overseas digital products and services will be subject to GST from July 2017

Middle-income earners

  • Wage increases to justify cost-of-living pressures will result in people being pushed into higher income tax brackets


  • Aid will be cut by 40 percent

IMAGE: Stock image via Shutterstock.com/wael khalil alfuzai