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Four things that will be more expensive in 2017



From passports to prescription drugs, prices are rising.

Happy New Year! Not to be a virtual grinch or anything, but the beginning of a new year often means that things become more expensive. That's not always the case (your phone bill is quite likely to be lower), but there are plenty of areas where prices are rising.

Often that's due to changes that were introduced back in the 2016 budget finally kicking in. Here are four areas where you'll end up paying a little more:

Applying for a passport

The fee for a new passport is going up by $20 for adults (to $277 for a regular passport), and $10 for children (up to $139). If you want priority processing, that will now cost $183, an extra $54 on top of what you would have paid last year.

Prescription medicines

The copayment for prescription drugs per script is going up to $38.80 for general patients (up 50 cents) and $6.30 for concession card holders (up 10 cents). In truth, I'm struggling to be outraged by a change of that magnitude; at least it might be a way to deploy otherwise useless 5-cent pieces.

Dental care for kids

If you receive Family Tax Benefit Part A, you're entitled to subsidised dental care. As of January 1, the total you can claim is capped at $700 over two years, down from $1,000. Ouch.

Backpacker tax

Attempts to make backpackers pay a higher level of tax when working temporary jobs in Australia were one of the bigger political battles of 2017. The government originally wanted a 32.5% rate to apply to all backpackers, but was forced to shift after farmers complained that they would never get enough workers to pick fruit crops at that rate. The rate has now been set at 15 cents per dollar, with no tax-free threshold.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on

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