10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

This $50 million James Cook show better be good. Picture: Getty Island

1. Let’s not muck about.

For annual incomes up to $37,000, your tax bill will be reduced by up to $200 in a lump sum known as a low-income tax offset (LITO) when you lodge your tax return.
For annual incomes of between $37,001 and $48,000, your LITO will be $530.
For incomes between $48,001 and $90,000, your LITO will be $530.
For incomes between $87,000 and $90,000, you’re now in the 32.5c bracket.
For incomes between $90,001 and $125,000, your LITO starts at $530, but tapers off to zero at $125,000.
For incomes above $180,001, no humans care what taxes you pay.
And treasurer Scott Morrison flagged further changes rolling out between 2022 and 2024, which we’ll worry about then if they happen.

2. To the rest of the Budget! Let’s look at who’s paying for it this year:

  • Child care early learning projects will return $6 million in uncommitted funding
  • Endeavour Mobility Grants and Scholarships and Fellowships will be worth $62.9 million less
  • The Industry Workforce Training program will have its funding cut by $21.2 million
  • The National Training System will have its funding cut by $8.3 million
  • The Australian Trade and Investment Commission loses $6.6 million
  • Industry Programs will return $30 million in uncommitted funding; and
  • The Bilateral Asset Recycling Agreement with South Australia will be terminated, returning $36.6 million to federal government coffers.

Also, iron ore. Because if it shifts $10 in any direction, Morrison’s budget position changes to the tune of $3.6 billion.

3. Generally speaking, aside from the lump sums for new tellies in every Australian home, there wasn’t a lot extra being handed out at a personal level. You won’t pay a fee for exiting a dodgy super fund any more. And if you’re under 25, you won’t be forced to pay for a life insurance policy on those accounts. If you’re a pensioner, you can earn an extra $1300 without having your payment cut, or $7800 if you’re self-employed.

And because you’re an old couple and actually might have a home when you retire, you can increase your pension by up to $17,800 by borrowing against it, tax-free.

The biggest spend was $24.5 billion in new major transport projects across the nation. Here’s your cut-out-n-keep version:

4. And here are 32 interesting and surprising measures announced in the 2018 federal budget, including fruit fly haters, Antarctic scientists, organ donors, anti-slavers, drone enthusiasts and blockchain nerds.

Among the more challenging initiatives – whoever thought it was a good idea to spend almost $50 million to commemorate the 250th anniversary of James Cook’s invasion of first voyage to Australia is about to have a busy week. And a multi-agency taskforce is being formed to fight the $50 billion black economy where cash is king. One new rule is no one is allowed to pay more than $10,000 in cash for stuff. Are you listening, criminals? Just stop it.

Read more: Here’s the full federal budget speech
Read more: FEDERAL BUDGET 2018 – What you need to know

5. The world kept turning, and the US withdrew from the Iran deal struck by the Obama administration that was aimed to restrict Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons. In exchange, Iran had economic sanctions placed on it eased. According to US President Donald Trump, since the agreement, “Iran’s bloody ambitions have grown only more brazen”. Israel would agree, but CNN viewers don’t. Here are the winners and losers from that deal.

6. Oil was the big story after the US announced it would withdraw from the Iran agreement (more on that below). US bond yields edged higher and stocks wobbled a bit but ended up trading flat. Iron ore finally reversed its losses and the Aussie dollar got sold off in Europe before the budget was handed down, and sold off some more later as the USD kept getting stronger.

7. It was Google’s big moment overnight. The search giant’s annual conference I/O is on right now and CEO Sundar Pichai kicked it off with the big news that his developers have put the cheese in the right place in the hamburger emoji:


But this, in 2018, is really all about AI. Here’s our rolling coverage of the whole thing, but the highlights so far are an additions to Google photos that adds colour to your old pics:

Google/Business Insider

And a YouTube feature that reminds your kids to stop watching Fortnite run-throughs and grown men chucking frisbees around.

8. An ancient virus that’s similar to HIV is spreading around Australia. It’s called HTLV-1 and it was discovered in 1979, but its DNA has been found on a 1,500-year-old mummy from South America’s Andes mountains. The bad news is, it has infected about 40% of adults in indigenous communities around the town of Alice Springs, and there’s “little to almost no vaccine research”, doctors told CNN. ($50 million to commemorate Cook’s voyage.)

9. Hey “normal people”, your affordable flying taxi has landed. Well, a prototype has, of Uber’s prototype for the service, which it just revealed ahead of its Uber Elevate Summit in Los Angeles. Look:

UberUber hopes to launch its Uber Air service by 2028.

And in The Future, you won’t even have to worry about creepy drivers, because it won’t have any. Win!

10. Here’s a tweet short-seller hater and Tesla CEO Elon Musk sent out a couple of days ago:

And with time running out for the Tesla doubters, here’s the burn – Musk just spent $US9.85 million buying 33,000 Tesla shares. Adding to his excellent mood right now, Musk also has a new girlfriend, Grimes. She’s a Canadian pop star but more importantly, she’s an ace gamer and Twitch star. Here’s all we know about her.

Have a great day.

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