Retirement Income

Tue, 18 Dec, 2018Basmah Qazi

The major changes you need to know starting from 1 January 2019

The major changes you need to know starting from 1 January 2019

With the new year right around the corner, you start to plan how you’re going to do things differently. But you’re not the only one who plans to bring about change.

With the start of a new year, the government uses the occasion to introduce new laws and regulations, fees and charges, and taxes and benefits.

So to prepare for January 1, 2019, here is what you need to know.

Increase in train fares

Victoria will see a spike in train fares by 2.2 per cent starting from January 1. The increase is according to the consumer price index and the government claims it is the lowest fare rise since 2014.

A two-hour ticket which previously cost $4.30 will now be $4.40, with an all-day ticket costing travellers $8.80. Concession tickets will be priced at $2.20 and $4.40.

A seven-day Myki pass will cost passengers $44 while concession passes will set commuters back $22. Annual passes will be increased to $1722.50 and if travelling on concession, then it will cost $861.25.

Those residing in Brisbane should also expect an increase in fares starting from January 7, with adult tickets increasing from $4.70 to $4.80. But concession prices will remain the same at $2.40.

Eight zone tickets will cost $28.90 for adult passengers and $14.50 for concession.

Those who carry a TransLink Go card will pay $2.65-$3.31 for a single-zone adult fare and $1.32-$1.66 for concession holders.

The eight-zone charges will increase to $15.97-$19.96 for adults and $7.98-$9.98 for concession.

Power price cuts

Customers who are with AGL in Victoria will see a decrease in electricity prices as they plan to come down by 1.6 per cent starting from January 1.

Average households will see a saving of $23 a year and $60 for small businesses. Gas prices are also planned to become cheaper as families will save $11 and small businesses $56.

Those living in NSW, ACT, Queensland and South Australia, and are owners of a concession card, will have an automatic 10 per cent discount applied to their electricity bill from January 1.

The four states are also looking at an increase in gas prices, with households paying an extra $69 a year. But if you want a way around the hefty cost, then EnergyAustralia recommends switching to the Secure Saver plan which locks in 2018 rates for two years.

NAB’s ATM fees

If you’re an NAB customer then prepare yourself as from January 1, National Australia Bank members will be forced into paying $2 from over 3000 ATMs that used to be free since 2009.

The fee comes after NAB ended its partnership with RediATM, but a spokesperson from NAB says that there will still be 7000 ATMs around the country that customers can use free of charge.

“NAB has decided to no longer be part of the RediATM network from January 1, 2019,” they said. “The way Australians are using cash is changing fast with ATM use declining by 20 per cent over the past five years.”

Qantas Frequent Flyer changes

Members of Qantas’ Frequent Flyer program will not be able to earn points by booking meals from January 1, as the Australian carrier will be putting a stop to its Qantas Restaurants scheme.

The airline partnered with TripAdvisor-owned company, which rewarded members with points if they booked with one of over 4000 restaurants.

“Due to changes in the program, from January 1, 2019 you will no longer be able to book a table or earn points via Qantas restaurants,” the website read. “You can book a table up until December 31 2018 and dine until January 31 2019.”