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Business News

Boosted Work Bonus Unlocks Extra Income for Older Australians

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Boosted Work Bonus

Boosted Work Bonus Unlocks Extra Income for Older Australians

 

Older Australians seeking to work without impacting their pension are greeted with positive news as the new year brings a significant enhancement to pension working rules. Effective January 1, the Work Bonus receives a substantial increase of $4,000, establishing a permanent annual limit of $11,800. This adjustment, resulting from ongoing pension working rule reforms, allows working pensioners to gain an additional $2,000, eliminating barriers for those eager to work in later life.

Understanding the mechanics of the enhanced Work Bonus is crucial. Thankfully, there’s no need for a separate application; individuals only need to declare their income, and the myGov/Centrelink portal provides convenient online access it.

Key Points of the Enhanced Work Bonus:

  • Under existing rules, the first $300 of fortnightly work income is pension income test-exempt, with the unused portion accumulating in a Work Bonus income bank.
  • The $4,000 permanent increase is added to the $7,800 annual limit, enhancing flexibility for individuals who work intensely in shorter periods. The extra $4,000 is applied at the start of the year.
  • As of January 1, 2024, the permanent increase allows individuals to earn $453 per fortnight without impacting their pension, potentially enabling them to take on extra shifts.
  • The Work Bonus operates alongside the pension income free area, enabling eligible pensioners to earn up to $657 per fortnight.
Boosted Work Bonus

Effective January 1, it receives a substantial increase of $4,000, establishing a permanent annual limit of $11,800.

Illustrative Examples:

Single Pensioners:

  1. John: An age pensioner working as a school crossing supervisor earning $400 a fortnight. Only $100 is counted under the pension income test, ensuring John receives the maximum Age Pension rate.
  2. Julie: An age pensioner working as an accountant for three fortnights, earning $6,000. With her Work Bonus income bank higher than her income, none of the $6,000 is assessed under the income test, allowing Julie to retain $6,700 for future earnings.

Couples:

  • Carol and Rob: A couple receiving the Age Pension. Carol’s work income of $700 and Rob’s self-employment income of $220 result in a combined assessed income of $400 a fortnight, leading to a $20 reduction in their combined pensions.

The enhanced Work Bonus provides a significant income-boosting opportunity for older Australians while maintaining pension eligibility.

For more information, individuals can contact Services Australia through Centrelink offices, phone (13 23 00), or online at Services Australia.

 

For more seniors news, click here.

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Ballina News

Ballina gets ‘beefed’ up with new pie shop in town

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Beefy’s Pies Ballina

Ballina gets ‘beefed’ up with new pie shop in town

 

By Samantha Elley

If you’ve been wondering about the new store on River Street in Ballina, wonder no further.

Beefy’s Pies have made their way down from the Sunshine Coast ready to fill the bellies of Northern Rivers locals.

These award winning pies have crossed the border, opening its first NSW store at 166-172 River Street, Ballina.

“We’re excited to receive a warm welcome from the Ballina and Northern Rivers community so far and can’t wait to have everyone in store to taste the Beefy’s difference,” says Jason Lyons, General Manager – Operations at Beefy’s.

“Beefy’s will bring its full range of award-wining pies, sausage rolls, sweets and coffee to the Northern Rivers community, making it a go-to destination for travellers and locals alike.

“Our new Ballina team can’t wait to get to know everyone by name, pie and coffee order. Our opening weekend is the best way to kick this off, but we’ll be teaming up with the local community to support businesses, events and groups in the future with our Pie Drives and fundraising events.”

While the store opened its doors on Friday, 28th June, the official Beefy’s Ballina community launch is Friday 12th to Sunday 14th July with one-weekend only deals and children’s entertainment on offer.

Ballina is Beefy’s 10th store and the first in in New South Wales. It joins locations across South-East Queensland including Gympie, Traveston, Maroochydore, Buderim, Kawana, Aussie World, Glasshouse, Mango Hill and Ningi.

 

For more local Ballina news, click here.

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Business News

Two-in-five Australians set to shop the End of Financial Year sales

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a person online shopping for End of Financial Year sales

Two-in-five Australians set to shop the End of Financial Year sales

 

New research from PayPal reveals that two-in-five (38%) Australians plan to shop during the End of Financial Year (EOFY) sales, but not predominantly for traditional tax-deductible work expenses. Instead, a significant portion of shoppers will be focusing on personal items such as clothing or fashion (51%), electronics (31%), homewares and garden items (26%), and health and beauty products (12%).

The current economic climate is a major factor influencing this broader bargain-hunting behaviour. More than half (52%) of Australians believe that online sales can help them manage cost-of-living pressures. Reflecting this sentiment, two-in-five (42%) will shop the EOFY sales online rather than in-store, driven by the convenience of price comparisons and the perception of better deals online.

“As the cost-of-living crisis continues, it’s clear that Australians are eager to save money whenever and wherever they can, looking to online sales events to help reduce spending,” said PayPal Consumer Shopping Expert Bonnie Brady. She advises that while sales can be an excellent opportunity to save on necessary items, planning purchases and setting budgets are crucial to avoid impulse buying and overspending.

However, the shift towards online shopping comes with increased security concerns. A substantial majority of Australians (93%) are worried about online security, with scams becoming more sophisticated and harder to recognise. This concern has grown over the past year, with two-in-five (40%) Australians more worried about online security than before.

Despite these concerns, there is a strong awareness of online security measures among Australians. About 84% feel confident in their understanding of how to protect themselves against scams, and 99% are familiar with key online safety techniques such as using complex passwords (87%), diversifying passwords (76%), and avoiding links in text messages (76%). Additionally, four-in-five (84%) prefer to use secure payment options like PayPal when shopping online.

Unfortunately, heightened vigilance against scams has led to some disruptions in legitimate activities. For example, 87% of Australians avoid phone calls from unknown numbers due to scam fears, and 15% have missed a genuine payment assuming it was fraudulent.

Bonnie Brady emphasises the importance of staying informed about online safety: “The convenience of online shopping has never been more popular, but we must all do the work to learn how to stay safe online, and to keep that understanding up as new threats emerge. The protective steps that each of us can take are simple and often free, but no one can take them for us.”

To help consumers shop safely and smartly during the EOFY sales, PayPal offers the following tips:

  1. Plan purchases: Make a list and budget before shopping to avoid impulse buys.
  2. Scrutinise suspicious sites: Look out for fake retail sites by checking for anomalies and verifying URLs.
  3. Check reviews: Look up online reviews to avoid fraudulent sellers.
  4. Understand return options: Ensure the retailer has a reasonable return policy.
  5. Compare prices in real time: Use tools like PayPal Honey to find the best deals and apply discount codes automatically.
  6. Keep financial details safe: Use secure payment methods like PayPal to protect your information.

These strategies can help Australians make the most of the EOFY sales while staying safe and within budget.

 

For more business news, click here.

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Business News

Builders Respond to NSW Budget

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NSW Budget Builders

Builders Respond to NSW Budget

 

Today’s NSW Budget offers significant measures to address supply barriers in the new home building sector, according to Master Builders Association of NSW Executive Director Brian Seidler.

Housing

“Treasurer Daniel Mookhey has appropriately placed housing at the heart of the budget, acknowledging that building the necessary homes and infrastructure is essential to tackling broader economic and cost-of-living challenges,” said Mr. Seidler.

Key Housing Initiatives:

  • Speeding Up Development Approvals: Measures to expedite development approvals will reduce build costs and address delays in planning, which have historically extended build times.
  • Investment in Social and Affordable Housing: A record investment in social and affordable housing aims to address the critical undersupply for vulnerable populations.
  • Release of Government Land: The release of government land for both government and private home building is a long-advocated measure by Master Builders.
  • Build-to-Rent Projects: These projects are welcomed as they diversify the NSW housing market and make rental accommodation more affordable.
  • Higher Density Construction: With construction times increasing from an average of 22 months to over 30 months over the last decade, accelerating build times is crucial. The focus will be on overcoming labour shortages, low productivity, and delays in other approvals such as occupation certificates.

Business Support

“Building and construction businesses have faced rising operating costs and increased project risks for several years, with many struggling to stay afloat. Over 98% of the industry is comprised of small businesses, which are currently facing significant challenges,” said Mr. Seidler. He emphasized that a strong building and construction industry is vital for the economy, noting that every dollar invested in the industry returns three dollars to the economy.

Skills and Training

“Workforce shortages are a significant barrier to the building and construction industry, which loses 8% of its workforce annually, replacing only about half of those lost. Growing our domestic workforce is crucial,” stated Mr. Seidler.

Key Skills and Training Measures:

  • Fee-Free Training: The budget includes additional places for fee-free training, particularly targeting construction apprenticeships.
  • Industry-Led Training Organisations: There is a call for better support for vocational education and training providers outside of TAFE, emphasizing the role of industry-led registered training organisations and group training organisations in delivering this training.

Infrastructure

The Master Builders Association welcomes additional investments in transport and education projects, including upgrades to roads around the new Western Sydney airport. “As we build more homes, it’s crucial to have supporting infrastructure like roads, hospitals, and schools to support growing communities,” Mr. Seidler said.

Building Commission

“We welcome additional funding for the NSW Building Commission to enforce regulations and eliminate bad building practices,” said Mr. Seidler. The Master Builders Association has long supported an industry-specific building commission to ensure high standards in construction projects, meeting community expectations.

In summary, today’s NSW Budget introduces several positive measures that aim to enhance the building and construction industry’s ability to meet housing targets, support small businesses, address skills shortages, and ensure robust infrastructure development.

 

For more business news, click here.

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