What’s changing in 2019?

The new year brings with it a raft of changes that could impact your finances.

Tampon tax axed

Tampons and sanitary pads no longer incur 10% GST.

States and territories agreed last year to remove GST from sanitary products following an 18-year campaign by women’s right groups, who protested the tax since its introduction in 1999.

Sanitary items exempt from the GST include tampons, pads, menstrual cups and maternity pads.

Energy discounts for concession card holders

Queensland concession card holders may be eligible for automatic discounts with selected energy providers.

Origin Energy will provide concession card holders on standing offers or non-discounted plans an automatic 10% discount, while Energy Australia will automatically apply 15% discounts on electricity and gas usage for its eligible concession card customers on default or "standing offer" tariffs.

Contact your energy provider to find out if you’re eligible. 

Tighter rules around credit cards

Credit card providers will have to provide proof a card holder can afford to pay back their credit limit within three years under new laws aimed at managing Australians debt.

The change, under the Australian Securities and Investment Commission’s (ASIC) voluntary measures, aim to address the inappropriate selling of credit cards as highlighted in the banking Royal Commission.

Nine out of the 10 biggest lenders have also agreed to take proactive steps to help consumers who struggle to pay off their credit cards according to ASIC’s latest report.

ASIC measures will make it easier for consumers to cancel old credit cards.

Transport price increases

Brisbane TransLink commuters have been slugged a 1.8% cost increase in adult and concession fares. 

An adult, single-zone ticket will increase from $4.70 to $4.80, for example.

Toll fees for the Airportlink M7 have also increased by 10 cents for a car.

Cap on HELP debt

The Australian Government has introduced a new lifetime limit on the amount of money loaned to university and Vocation and Educational Training (VET) students.

The lifetime Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) will be set at $104,440 for most students, while those studying more expensive courses like medicine and dentistry will have a $150,000 cap.