ACT News

Which Canberra fees and charges will rise on New Year's Day 2016?

Along with an increase in bus fares on January 2, Canberra's ambulance levy increased 7 per cent with the New Year.

The ACT government increased the ambulance levy in its most recent budget, to take effect on January 1 and raise about $500,000 extra each year. The new levy is about $126 a year for individuals and $252 for families, and is paid through private health insurers.

An ACTION bus: higher fares take effect on January 2.
An ACTION bus: higher fares take effect on January 2.  Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Bus fares increase by 10¢ per trip, to $4.70 for an adult from today, Saturday. A daily ticket increases 20¢, to $9.

For concession card holders and students, a single fare stays at $2.30, with the cost of a daily ticket increasing by 10¢, to $4.50.

Buses are much cheaper using My Way cards, but fares will still increase on Saturday for people using My Way cards, by 7¢ per trip for peak fares to $2.98, and 6¢ off-peak, to $2.37. School students with My Way cards will pay an extra 3¢ each trip, at $1.13.

Canberrans aged under 5 and over 70 still travel free, along with Gold Card holders, veterans and the vision impaired.

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This year is set to see a big shake-up the city's public transport, when ACTION buses and Capital Metro are brought under one new organisation, Transport Canberra, with plans to combine fares and ticketing.

The government is in the final stages of considering bids from the two leading consortiums bidding to build the 12km tram line from Gungahlin to the city and a likely line from the city to Russell, and is expected to announce a winner in the next month or soon after. Construction is to begin on the line before the October election.

Australia Post increases the price of regular postage stamps from 70¢ to $1 from January. The hike is predicted to have a big impact on small business owners.

For parents of small children, the federal government's "no jab, no play" policy also begins. Aimed at increasing vaccination rates, the policy strips families of unvaccinated children of thousands of dollars a year in childcare rebates and the Family Tax Benefit A end-of-year supplement.

There are exemptions for those who have medical issues.

Changes to paid parental leave take effect from July 1 if they pass the Senate. The Turnbull government is attempting to "reconfigure" unpopular changes to paid parental leave announced in the May budget, which would have prevented mothers using the Commonwealth paid parental leave scheme when they could access an employer scheme.

A compromise would see all new mothers receive 18 weeks of paid parental leave. If they had an employer scheme covering them at their full wage for fewer than 18 weeks, they would be able to claim government payments at the minimum wage for the balance of the period.

– with Michaela Whitbourn