House debates

Tuesday, 13 February 2024


Treasury Laws Amendment (Cost of Living Tax Cuts) Bill 2024, Treasury Laws Amendment (Cost of Living — Medicare Levy) Bill 2024; Second Reading

5:52 pm

Photo of David SmithDavid Smith (Bean, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

Yes, lots of potholes; that's true. We even get them down in Tuggeranong as well.

If the substantive bill passes, from 1 July this year, the Albanese Labor government will deliver a tax cut for every taxpayer in my electorate of Bean and across the country. That is what we will deliver. That's what the outcome will be with the passage of this bill.

This government understands that the post-COVID global economy is not what we thought it would be five years ago. Taxpayers in Bean have endured a multifaceted cost-of-living crisis, and I believe they deserve a tax cut. When the member for Cook's tax plan was legislated five years ago, it did not factor in a global pandemic, a global inflation spike, successive interest rate rises and greater global uncertainty and it did not do enough to help those who have been put under the most pressure by the changing circumstances. When the circumstances change, changing policy is the responsible thing to do.

No matter who you are, this Albanese Labor government will make sure you pay less tax. We understand that family budgets are under pressure right now. Taking that pressure off family budgets is our No. 1 priority. In the ACT, 79 per cent of taxpayers will be better off, and locally in my electorate of Bean, the best part of the ACT, as well as Norfolk Island, 83 per cent of taxpayers will benefit from these changes.

Of these taxpayers, I think of the hardworking retail worker at South.Point shopping centre in Tuggeranong, who, after deciding to increase their hours, now earns $30,000. Under the previous tax package, this retail worker would have paid $1,942 in income tax. Under our plan, they'll now receive a tax cut of $354. In addition to getting this tax cut, that retail worker will also benefit by $172 from the increase to the Medicare levy low-income threshold. I also think of the primary school teacher in Bean working at St Clare of Assisi Primary School in Lanyon, earning $85,000 per year. That teacher will get a tax cut of $1,800 per year come 1 July. And I think of the electrician working on construction sites across Denman Prospect in the Molonglo Valley, earning $110,000 per year. They'll now get a tax cut of more than $2,400 a year. And I think of the software engineer working at Services Australia—and pity the software engineers working at Services Australia, with all the work they have to do because of the messes that they're cleaning up!—just next to my electorate office in Greenway, down in Tuggeranong, on more than $140,000. They will now get a tax cut of $3,700. And I think of the nurse working at Uniting Aged Care in Gordon, who'll now get an additional $1,500 tax cut, in addition to the great work of this government in increasing minimum pay right cross aged care last year.

I think of the family in the Molonglo Valley on an average household income of around $130,000, with one partner working in the Public Service and earning $80,000 per year and the other working with a local business and earning $50,000 per year. Their combined tax cut will be over $2,600, which is about $50 a week and $1,600 more than they would have got under the old plan. Practically, this tax relief means fuel for the car or more money for household bills. For many others it may simply mean that these good residents of Bean will have that extra bit of breathing room in their weekly budget.

The Treasurer made clear last week when he introduced this legislation that these tax cuts are about supporting the hardworking people who make our economy and our country strong. They are about supporting people who work hard so that they can provide for their loved ones and get ahead. They are about doing more than just acknowledging that people are under pressure. They are about recognising that aspiration in this country is not and should not be limited to people who are already doing pretty well. Middle Australia is aspirational Australia, where people work hard to give their kids a better chance. Labor believes that whether you earn 40 grand, 140 grand or 240 grand you deserve a tax cut on 1 July, and that's what we'll be delivering on 1 July this year.

But the opposition have given up on being a credible alternative government. The Liberals and Nationals have made it clear that they do not want these tax cuts for middle Australia. You've heard it through most of their speeches. But, to be fair, they think they are middle Australia. So, it's not a surprise that they see anything below that as undeserving of tax cuts. The member for Fraser immediately denounced support for middle Australia and committed to repealing it. They have consistently, over the last 12 months, responded to cost-of-living measures with one word: 'No'. They've given up pretending to care about delivering responsible cost-of-living support for families in Bean and right across the country.

While those opposite are working out who plays who in the next series of Nemesis, we on this side of the parliament have rolled out electricity bill relief, cheaper child care, increased rent assistance and cheaper medicines. We've boosted income support payments. We've provided thousands of fee-free TAFE places in this region and around the country. We're building more affordable homes. We're expanding paid parental leave. We're creating jobs and we're getting wages moving again in workplaces where workers are finally getting their rights back into the right balance again. Now, to add to that, we will be the party in government to add providing every Australian with a tax cut to that growing list of cost-of-living measures.

Under Labor, more people are working and more people are earning more. And under our plan, more people will keep more of what they earn. I stand here proud to be part of a government that is delivering real cost-of-living relief to families in my community. We're happy to respond when the circumstances demand it, providing support to every community right across the country. I commend this bill to the House.


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