Thursday, 24 November 2022
Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2022-2023; Consideration in Detail
Six months ago, the Albanese Labor government was elected on a mandate to be a better government, and that starts with an honest conversation with the Australian people to ensure we are able to do good policy. You don't do good policy unless you have an honest conversation with the Australian people about the facts. We're also committed to ensuring that we manage the budget and put it on a sustainable footing to end the waste, to address record debt and to put economic growth back on a stable footing. Work is already underway. Millions of Australians are counting on us to deliver on that mandate.
We're getting wages moving again—we're supporting an increase to the minimum wage and strengthening our industrial relations system. This will deliver wage increases for millions of Australian workers, who have been languishing on low or no wage increases for a decade. Our childcare reforms are giving 1.2 million working families the option of taking on more hours and earning more money. Our aged-care reforms—targeted investments—are prioritising delivering more nursing care, more nutritious food and more hours and ensuring that we can provide better pay for those who are looking after our seniors. Our responsible targeted investments are prioritising measures that provide an economic return, not a political pay-off. That's a novel approach compared to the last nine years, but it's an approach the Australian people have voted for.
I want to say a few things about budget measures aimed at tax avoidance. The Albanese government is committed to investing in the capabilities of our tax regulators to increase receipts by around $5.7 billion over the forward estimates. That's $5.7 billion that will be put into cheaper medicines, cheaper child care, better aged care and deficit reduction. The investment in our tax regulators over the forward estimates includes $1.1 billion to increase and extend funding for the Tax Avoidance Taskforce, which focuses on multinationals, large businesses and high-wealth tax avoidance. It complements the measures that my colleague the assistant minister will be addressing in relation to multinational tax avoidance at large. It also includes $242.9 million to extend the shadow economy program for a further three years, which helps stop dishonest and criminal activities outside of our tax system; $80.3 million to extend the Personal Income Taxation Compliance Program for a further two years to support individuals to pay the right amount of tax on time; and $20.8 million for the Tax Practitioners Board to increase compliance investigations on high-risk tax practitioners.
The Albanese government is committed to providing a clear signal that tax avoidance will not be tolerated. The integrity of our tax system is built upon every taxpayer believing and having faith that every other taxpayer is doing the right thing.
A division having been called in the House of Representatives—
Sitting suspended from 11:04 to 11:15
As I was saying, we are committed to ensuring that every cent that is owed through the taxation system is paid because that's the integrity we want in our tax system. Australians can have faith in our tax system if they can look to their left and look to their right and know that all Australians are paying the right amount of tax as is lawfully due.
I want to say something about scams. Last year Australian households and businesses lost around $2 billion to scams. That's an estimate. It's probably more than that because there's a hell of a lot of under-reporting. Indeed, this year the ACCC expects that number to be at least $4 billion. Getting scammed will turn a precarious financial situation into a disaster. It's not just the financial cost, it's the personal cost as well, and the time that is taken to rectify your personal and your business and your financial situation. Scammers are targeting our most vulnerable individuals. That's why the government is making it a priority to crack down on scams, with $12.6 million over four years in this budget, and more to come for a real plan to crack down on scammers and protect Australian households.