House debates

Monday, 8 February 2016

Statements by Members

Payroll Tax

1:57 pm

Photo of Alannah MactiernanAlannah Mactiernan (Perth, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The unemployed in Australia are distinctly unexcited by the PM's suggestion that the states should be raising payroll tax—a tax on jobs. More than $22 billion is collected across Australia in payroll taxes each year. It disadvantages those companies that employ people and privileges the investment and capital over labour. For the record, the Prime Minister is sighing; indeed, he may well sigh because we do not need a further tax on jobs.

The PM says it is an efficient tax, but it is only efficient because it is hard to avoid. In WA we have seen the payroll tax threshold creep smash small businesses. In 2014-15, a company with a $4 million payroll was paying almost $200,000 in payroll tax. A Curtin Economics Centre report, released last year, said that WA ranked equal first in the payroll tax costs for small businesses.

Payroll tax already makes up 40.5 per cent of WA's state tax revenue, and yet our unemployment rate has doubled over the last four years. We need to encourage labour-intensive businesses to hire, not to cut back on wages and staff in a bid to lower their payroll tax. No-one is falling for this trick, PM. The problem is not what the states are or are not—(Time expired)