Angels and demons in the Treasurer’s details

Cash for hiring older workers, cuts for maritime industries and no word on RSRT

Angels and demons in the Treasurer’s details
Some interesting wrinkles can be found inthe Budget papers

The ability of trucking companies standing to gain Federal Government cash due to its ageing workforce looks a certainty following the Restart announcement in this year’s Budget.

Employers will receive up to $10,000 in Commonwealth Government assistance if they hire a job seeker aged 50 or older under an enhanced wage-subsidy program announced in the 2014-15 Budget, Treasurer Joe Hockey has announced.

Restart, which begins on July 1 is worth $524.8 million over four years and replaces the Seniors Employment Incentive Payment (SEIP), more than triples the incentive payment previously announced by the Government.

Before the election, the Coalition said it would establish a new SEIP of $3,250 for employers that hire mature workers aged 50 or older and keep them on for at least six months.

Eligible employers will receive $3,000 if they hire a full-time mature-age job seeker who was previously unemployed for a minimum of six months and employ that person for at least six months.

Once that job seeker has been working for the same employer for 12 months, the employer will receive another payment of $3,000.

The employer will then receive a further $2,000 once the same job seeker has been with them for 18 months, and $2,000 again at 24 months.

The subsidy will also be available on a pro rata basis where employers take on part-time workers for a minimum of 15 hours per week.

There was nothing explicit in the Budget papers for the Employment Department that gave a clue to Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal’s (RSRT) future and there were no statements on it.

The Fair Work Commission’s forward expenses hovered around the $84 million mark up to 2017-18.

But there was a caveat: "The functions of the Fair Work Commission and the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal are prescribed by legislation. New and/or changed legislative requirements may impact forward year expenses."

The National Transport Commission also has expenses estimated for the next three years.

The Government will reduce the Protection of the Sea Levy (PSL) from 14.25 cents to 11.25 cents per net registered tonne for defined vessels on an ongoing basis from July 1. This is estimated to reduce revenue by $39 million over four years from 2014‑15.

The PSL was increased from 11.25 cents to 14.25 cents, with effect from April 1 2010, to recover the pollution‑related clean‑up costs in excess of the amount paid by the Pacific Adventurer shipowner. It was retained at 14.25 cents in the 2013‑14 Budget to allow the Australian Maritime Safety Authority to establish a $10.0 million pollution response reserve and implement the upgrade and modernisation of the national stockpile of oil and chemical spill equipment. These activities are now complete.

The Government will achieve savings of $5 million over three years from 2013‑14 by not proceeding with funding for the Sustaining Australia's maritime skills measure announced in the 2013‑14 Budget.

The savings from this measure will be redirected by the Government to repair the Budget and fund policy priorities.

The Government will achieve savings of $4.1 million over four years from ceasing funding to the Tasmanian Wheat Freight Scheme (TWFS).

The TWFS subsidises the cost of shipping bulk wheat to Tasmania but no claim has been received under the TWFS since August 2009.

Containerised shipments of wheat to Tasmania remain eligible for assistance under the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme (TFES).

The Department of Human Services, which administers the TWFS, will receive $100,000 to update its systems and information documents as a result of the termination of the TWFS.

The TFES spending remains unchanged at $114.3 million for the next three years.

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