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Have a guess at which of the following are set to increase or decrease in price this new year: electricity, public transport, TAFE fees, ATM fees, mortgage rates, tampons, baby products. For the economically vulnerable, the news is mixed.

Electricity: Down - in some states, and for concession hard holders. Though some power companies will drop rates in Queensland and Victoria, concession card holders in several states are guaranteed some savings. For NSW, ACT, Queensland and South Australia, concession card holders on default (standing offers) or non-discounted plans will get an automatic discount on electricity from January 1. 

TAFE: Down - for Victorian residents under 20, a wide range of TAFE courses will be free. There are already 120 fee-free apprenticeship courses NSW, and many more offer $1000 scholarships. For general TAFE courses the NSW Smart and Skilled program offers fee-free scholarships for eligible students.  Student welfare payments ABSTUDY and Youth Allowance will be boosted in the new year, in measures worth $92 million over the forward estimates.

Tampons and pads: Down, as GST has been removed.

Fares: Up - by around 2% for public transport in the ACT, Queensland and Melbourne.

ATM fees: Up - for NAB customers using a rediATM. NAB is withdrawing from the rediATM network and their customers will pay a $2 fee now. The number of ATM withdrawals has dropped to below 2002 levels as cashless transactions continue to increase.

Mortgage rates: Up - but probably not until the second half of the year, if the RBA cash rate does not increase.

Baby products: Down - for a day in NSW anyway. A 'Baby Bundle' will be given upon release from hospital for all NSW newborns. The bundle contains $300 worth of baby products including a first aid kit and barrier cream.

Inflation is expected to rise to about 2.3% from 2% (Focus Economics). The unemployment rate which dropped form 5.6% to 5% in 2018 is expected to be 5.3% in 2018 (Trading Economics)

 

 

 

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