Reducing the size of Government

In addition to freezing wages, the Government has put in place a wide reaching program to reduce the size of Government over the next four years.

A number of changes are also scheduled to complete by 1 July 2015. These include:

Merging by 1 July 2015

Abolished by 1 July 2015

· ComSuper with the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation

· National Blood Authority with the Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Authority

· Private Health Insurance Ombudsman into the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman

· All of the Commonwealth merits review tribunals with the exception of the Veterans Review Board

· Private Health Insurance Administration Council

· Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee (CAMAC) and the CAMAC Legal Committee

· Albury-Wodonga Development Corporation

· Australian River Company Ltd

A raft of committees within the agricultural portfolio have also been rationalised.

In addition to this, a number of government departments and authorities have had their funding slashed or initiatives deferred including ASIC ($120.1m slashed over 4 years), the Australian Taxation Office ($142.8m over 3 years) and the CSIRO.

Plus, as previously announced, Medibank Private Limited will be sold with $90m provided to help with the sale.

Reducing emissions

As previously announced, the Government has set aside $2.55bn to establish the Emissions Reduction Fund to provide incentives to help Australia reach its target of reducing emissions to 5% below year 2000 levels by the year 2020.

The Clean Energy Regulator will conduct auctions to purchase, at the lowest cost, emissions reductions that are additional to normal business practice.

Date of effect

1 July 2014

Fair entitlements guarantee (FEG) redundancy payments scaled back

The FEG covers certain unpaid employee entitlements in the event of insolvency or bankruptcy.
Redundancy payments under the FEG scheme will be aligned to the National Employment Standards (NES) in the Fair Work Act. From 1 January 2015, the maximum payment for redundancy pay under the scheme will be 16 weeks.

From 1 July 2014, indexation of the Maximum Weekly Wage used in calculating entitlements for claimants earning above the Maximum Weekly Wage of $2,451, will be paused until 30 June 2018.

The changes will apply only to liquidations and bankruptcies that occur on or after the commencement date.