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Budget 2012: tax and supercharges

The major tax cut which may frustrate baby boomers is the government's deferred plans to keep the current $50,000 cap for superannuation, says finance editor, Annette Sampson.

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Families and Australia's ageing population are the big winners in Treasurer Wayne Swan's fifth budget, which has delivered a razor thin surplus of just $1.5 billion.

Last year's budget was $44 billion in deficit and the Labor government has found $33.6 billion of savings to meet the promised, and much spruiked, surplus.

Big business is a major loser with a promised cut to the company tax, to be fuelled by the mining tax, scrapped. The government blames the opposition and Greens for blocking the cut.

Ditching the company tax cut will save $4.8 billion over four years, while deferring a promised boost to foreign aid saves $2.9 billion.

But the biggest area of savings in the budget is defence, with $5.4 billion to be cut over the next fours years, including $966 million this financial year.

Some of the revenue destined for the company tax cut will instead flow to families, with a $1.8 billion tax break package for families at its centre.

Parents with school children will receive up to $820 extra a year for high school students, or $410 for primary pupils, under changes to the education tax refund.

The old system required receipts and forms to be filled out but now automatic payments to eligible families will be made, beginning next month.

The budget also kickstarts the government's National Disability Insurance Scheme with $1 billion committed to the program over the next four years, with $84 million for this year.

Australian's dental health will also get a boost with $515 million to help reduce public dental waiting lists and entice dentists to regional, rural and remote areas.

Australians earning less than $80,000 a year will also receive a modest tax cut, while from July 1 the tax-free threshold will be tripled to $18,200 meaning nearly a million Australians will no longer need to file a tax return. This is part of the government's carbon tax scheme.

Unlike big business, small businesses will receive some relief as they will be able to offset tax losses of up to $1 million against previous years.

The bureaucracy will see its first significant cut in more than a decade with 4227 full-time jobs to be cut in the next year.

Government departments earmarked for funding cuts include the Australian Sports Commission, the Bureau of Statistics, National library and museums, the Bureau of Meteorology and Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport.

The government will also boost the number of Home Care packages from 40,000 to nearly 100,000 over the next five years as part of $3.7 billion aged care reforms.

The Pacific Highway duplication will receive $3.6 billion, but only if the NSW state government matches the contribution.