Change is afoot as the clock ticks over to July 1 and the new financial year begins. There are bargains to be snapped up, goals to be set, plans to be enacted. While for some people the world will go on as normal, for the rest, this guide will help you keep abreast of the changes.
In your wallet
For the higher rollers among us, the debt levy strikes. People earning more than $180,000 a year will pay an extra 2 per cent tax on what they earn above that figure for the next three years, taking their marginal tax rate to 49 per cent including the Medicare levy, which will rise to 2 per cent.
But high earners may like to take advantage of the concessional superannuation contributions cap, which will increase to $30,000, or $35,000 if you're aged over 50. That means you'll pay only 15 per cent tax on those extra contributions. Meanwhile, the guaranteed employer contribution to super will rise to 9.5 per cent from 9.25 per cent.
Aged care costs will go up for some higher income earners. Individuals earning more than $24,700 – most likely from superannuation – may be asked to pay part of their nursing home costs, up to a maximum of $5000 a year for part-pensioners or $10,000 a year for self-funded retirees. That's on top of the basic daily care fee.
The price of gas will go up by 17 per cent, largely thanks to new export projects in Queensland, as Fairfax Media reported earlier.
And taxpayers will now receive a "tax receipt" to show where your hard-earned tax dollars are being spent. The receipt, issued to anyone with an annual taxable income of more than $100 who lodges their tax return within 18 months, is designed to make the system more transparent. It will also include information on the level of Australia's debt.
In the federal Senate
The country's balance of power now rests with a squadron of eight colourful crossbenchers. The Palmer United Party will be represented in the Senate by Glenn "The Brick With Eyes" Lazarus, Jacqui Lambie and Dio Wang. The government will also need to contend with motoring enthusiast Ricky Muir, Family First's Bob Day, Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm, the Democratic Labour Party's John Madigan and the veteran independent Nick Xenophon.
Labor's Deborah O'Neill will replace former foreign minister Bob Carr but, due to a constitutional quirk, the NSW Parliament cannot assent to the replacement until after Tuesday. As Fairfax Media revealed, that means a special mini joint sitting before July 7 to ensure Mr Carr doesn't technically start his term.
The changeover will be a mixed blessing for the government. It means the carbon tax will finally go (see below), but Clive Palmer is threatening to throw a few spanners in the works. Palmer United senators have indicated they will oppose the fuel excise increase, GP co-payments and Prime Minister Tony Abbott's signature paid parental leave scheme.
With the government unable to pass its carbon tax repeal until the new Senate sits, the tax will tick over to $25.40 a tonne from $24.15. But it will potentially be abolished just days later because Mr Palmer has agreed to ditch it unconditionally.
But the Coalition's Direct Action policy will still struggle after Mr Palmer declared it a "waste of money" at last week's bizarre joint press conference with former US vice-president Al Gore. The scheme was due to begin on Tuesday, but so far survives only on paper.
The national minimum wage will go up to $16.87 an hour, or $640.90 a week. It also marks the end of a transitional period in the award system, from old to modern awards, meaning pay rates and loadings should be easier to calculate. There are a few exceptions. Old provisions may still apply for those in social, community or disability services and cleaning. You can check your rates at the Fair Work website.
On the roads
Expect to see a few more motorbikes weaving in and out of traffic jams. Although already widely practised, lane filtering will become legal in NSW, allowing motorcycle riders to overtake through the middle of slow-moving or stopped traffic. A boon for the thrifty, this will be an Australian first.
Crash data shows that, between 2006 and 2012, there were 237 motorcycle crashes that might have involved lane filtering. But a two-month trial last year produced no such incidents. Lane filterers will be allowed to travel at a maximum of 30 kilometres an hour. Exceed that and you will be guilty of a new offence: "lane splitting".
The National Disability Insurance Scheme will start in the ACT, the Barkly region of the Northern Territory and in the Perth Hills area of Western Australia, ahead of a wider rollout in those jurisdictions. According to its schedule, the NDIS will be fully accessible to all Australians by 2019.
The threshold for the private health insurance rebate will be adjusted: it will be available to singles earning up to $140,000 and families earning up to $280,000. Individuals earning less than $90,000 will qualify for the full rebate, though higher rates are always given to those over the age of 65.