Concessions for downsizing the big ticket item in ACT budget

A new program providing concessions to over 60s who downsize their home is the big ticket item for seniors in this year’s ACT budget.

Commencing 4 June 2014 for two years, seniors over 60 who move out of a larger property into a smaller house will pay only $20 in stamp duty for a property worth $595,000 or less, and reduced stamp duty on properties worth over $595,000 and less than $765,000.

National Seniors Australia ACT representative Janet Medley said the Over 60s Home Bonus program was one of the most generous downsizing programs in Australia.

“The buyer of a $500,000 home can expect to see a massive saving of $15,780 on stamp duty compared to before the budget,’’ Ms Medley said.

“This is great news for seniors who wish to move to more suitable age-friendly accommodation and also means good news for the housing market as it frees up larger housing stock for families and improves housing affordability,’’ she added.

In other good news, it seems the ACT government has picked up the tab for most of the $400 million hole over four years left by the Commonwealth Federal Budget this financial year.

“We welcome the additional support for concessions in 2014-2015 from the ACT Government to maintain most concessions in the face of the Commonwealth’s withdrawal of $2.2 million in support.

“But we will be awaiting the review of the ACT Concession Program and a decision on any continuation of the increased funding provided in this 2014-2015 budget.”

The budget also included some cost of living increases with council rates, motor vehicle registrations, concessional public transport and Third Party Insurance charges all to rise.

Off-peak concessional public transport fares will double over three years with the government set to increase the My Way Off Peak single concession fare from 0.62 cents to $1.41 on current fares.

Council rates will increase by an average of $150 a year but concessions will be provided to pensioners to offset this increase.

Motor vehicle registration will increase by six per cent but motorists who choose to pay their registration annually will receive a discount of two per cent while those paying quarterly or half yearly will pay a reduced administrative fee of $15, down from $25.

Motorists will also need to pay a new lifetime care and support levy of $34 as part of their Third Party Insurance to cover catastrophic road injuries

Extra funding for Canberra health projects was also welcomed by seniors which will result in $34.1 million over four years for 500 extra elective surgeries to cut waiting lists to 300 by June 2015 as well as $54.6 million for 31 new hospital beds, including extra nursing and other health staff.

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