24 April, 2024
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Australian senators urged not to ‘stuff around’ on tax relief

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As another battlefront in the war on the cost of living emerges, the federal treasurer has called on his colleagues to act with haste.

The government’s controversially amended tax cuts will come before the Senate this week after passing the House of Representatives with support from the coalition and the crossbench.

Under the amended proposal, Australians earning less than $150,000 will receive a greater tax cut than under the original plan.

Those earning above $150,000 will still receive a tax cut but less than previously forecast.

With the bill to be discussed in the upper chamber throughout the week, Treasurer Jim Chalmers has urged senators not to waste time.

“Don’t delay, don’t stuff around, vote for the cost-of-living relief that our communities need and deserve,” he said.

“(This) all about helping Australians earn more and keep more of what they earn, because we know that’s key to easing the cost of living.”

Though the government is expected to clear this cost of living hurdle, another is looming.

Labor will take its proposed Help to Buy scheme to the House of Representatives when the parliamentary sitting week begins on Monday.

Under the legislation, the government would contribute up to 40 per cent of the value of a home for a new property or 30 per cent for an existing one for a first home buyer as part of a shared equity scheme.

Home buyers would then be able to contribute as little as two per cent for a deposit.

 Under the Help to Buy scheme the government will cover up to 40 per cent of the cost of a new home. Image by Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS 

The government says it will guide 40,000 Australians towards home ownership, but the Greens remain firmly opposed to the policy claiming it would do little to ease a strained housing market.

To make a significant change, the government must address housing tax breaks, Greens housing spokesman Max Chandler-Mather has said.

Negative gearing, for example, allows investors to claim deductions on losses, and the capital gains tax discount, halves the amount of tax paid by Australians who sell assets that have been owned for 12 months or more.

Scaling back these tax breaks could dis-incentivise rich investors from holding onto several properties, the Greens have said.

The government has previously ruled out changes to negative gearing and capital gains.

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