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Outlined below are a number of new laws that have come into effect on 1 January 2016, or soon will, that may affect you or someone you know.

The start of the New Year sees many of us implementing New Year’s resolutions – it’s always good to know that there are some new laws that have come into effect at this time too. Some of those that are most likely to affect us are set out below.

Postal costs

Many of you may have already noticed that the cost to send an ordinary letter has gone up from 70 cents to $1.00.

Australia post has also introduced a priority postal system – with priority letters requiring an extra 50 cents stamp.

Solariums

To fall into line with all other Australian states, WA will be introducing a ban on commercial tanning beds – looks like the spray tan will increase in popularity!

Uber

WA is also set to see sweeping reforms to the taxi industry with its rival Uber to be legalised this year.

Superannuation and Tax

The federal government has changed the deductible amounts for people and their partners in receipt of a defined benefit income stream, which will, from 1 January 2016 be capped.

This has the potential to affect income support payments, health care card holders and aged care fees.

From 1 January 2016 the federal government will also be taking into account rental income in the aged care means test.

Families

The so-called “No Jab, No Play” laws have come into effect at the commencement of this year, meaning that in order to be eligible for the Family Tax Benefit Part A Supplement and Child Care Benefits parents must ensure that their children are up to date with all immunisations, or have a medical exemption.

The Nanny Pilot Programme starts this month which will see about 10,000 children’s families receiving subsidies for the costs of a nanny.

Passports

From this year 16 and 17 year olds (together with everyone over 18 years) will now be issued with a 10 year passport, instead of the 5 year passport that remains for children under 16 years.

Youth

From this month people who have benefited from HECS and HELP student loans, but live overseas, will now be required to repay the loans in the same manner as if they resided in Australia.

This year also sees 15 to 21 year old school leavers given greater incentives to study or work. There will be a requirement on these people to be actively involved in work or study, or a combination of the two for at least 25 hours per week.

Conclusion

Just a small insight into some of the changes we are facing on the legal front this year.

At Lynn & Brown we strive to keep up to date with all legal changes in order to deliver the most accurate advice to all of our clients.

 

About the author:

This article has been authored by Jacqueline Brown who is a director at Lynn & Brown Lawyers.  Jacqui has over 20 years’ experience in legal practice and practices in family law, mediation and estate planning.  Jacqui is also a Nationally Accredited Mediator and a Notary Public.

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