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Australian Budget 2016 – 17 by Sara Stanley

Parliament is back, but nothing seems to have changed. We are back to the well-rewarded members of the parliamentary community bellowing that they are more worthy than those opposite. They don’t have to shout, those of us who read about them, see them on TV or hear about them on the radio, are fully aware that they are financially more secure than most of the people they represent. And who pay them.

I will explore two aspects from the ‘Budget 2016-17 Overview’ to indicate the government’s contempt for developing a fair and just society.

First, I notice the government is again telling us the 2016-17 budget is a national plan for Jobs and Growth. The budget has two sections that address this subject. Firstly, ‘The Government’ s Ten Year Enterprise Tax Plan will support growth, higher wages, and jobs by lowering the tax rate for companies over time to an internationally competitive level’ (see page 6).

The Ten Year Enterprise Tax Plan explains that this is to make Australian companies competitive with international tax rates. Tax reductions will start with small businesses with an annual turnover under $10,000,000. The balance of the Ten Year Enterprise Tax plan will roll out over the following ten years to progressively include all large businesses.

On page 7 of the Budget Overview is a graph illustrating that ‘Australia is growing faster than other advanced economies’

Secondly, I refer to The ‘Targeted welfare and safety net’ see ‘Budget Overview’ page 19: ‘Providing a well-targeted and sustainable safety net for vulnerable people and families.’

‘The new Child Care Subsidy, Community Child Care Fund and Additional Child Care Subsidy will now commence on 1 July 2018. To fund this child care package, the Government is restructuring Family Tax Benefit payments to provide more targeted assistance to families to encourage workforce participation.’

It is of interest to compare the different treatment of tax concession for businesses to the targeted payments for those of considerable need in society – vulnerable people and families.

There is no ‘targeting’ of the tax concessions to business. They do not have to show that they have increased their employment or are paying higher wages, they do not have to demonstrate that they support staff by paying for higher training/education, they do not have to send staff overseas to improve their skills, they do not have to help with existing or higher staff education debts. They just get the tax concession to spend as they choose.

Whereas the section designated Welfare’ virtually has to pay for itself by taking from other welfare recipients.

Newstart, which pays the unemployed $528.70 per fortnight, will now commence when a person is 25 years old, rather than 22. Under 25 years of age the payment is $427.50 per fortnight.

This budget, that the government is currently trying to get through parliament, does not indicate a government that is trying to create a fair and just society for all its members.

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