Friday, April 05, 2019

Couples with kids top budget tax winners

Since they are bringing up future taxpayers, they deserve it

Australian couples with children earning mid-range or high incomes would be the biggest winners from tax changes in the latest federal budget.

Five metropolitan electorates based in Sydney will also receive the greatest overall benefit when the staged reforms are complete.

The findings come from the University of Canberra’s National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM).

Under its analysis, a single person with a mid-range income would have an extra $405 in disposable income in 2019, $413 more in 2022 and $505 extra in 2024. A couple with children, in the same income bracket, would have $513 more in disposable cash in 2019, $650 in 2022 and $1714 in 2024.

The highest-earning couples with children would have $4573 extra to spend each year by 2024.

Men are broadly set to get more benefit from the tax relief than women. By age group, Australians aged between 26 and 35 and set to be the biggest beneficiaries.

A man in that age group will have $245 in extra disposable income per year once the 2019 changes kick in, while a woman will have $213.

For people aged 65 or older, that benefit drops down to $83 for men and $81 for women.

By 2024, the electorates set to benefit most from the changes will be Wentworth, North Sydney, Warringah, Sydney and Grayndler — all in metropolitan Sydney. Those to benefit least would be Spence in Adelaide’s outer north, Hinkler in Queensland, Page and Lyne in NSW and Lyons in Tasmania.

Ultimately, the tax and transfer measures in the budget will lead to a 0.2 per cent drop in Australia’s poverty rate, NATSEM has found. But it says a $75 a week increase to Newstart would reduce poverty by 0.8 per cent.

In Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s first budget, released on Tuesday, the government has promised to more than double a tax offset for Australians earning up to $126,000. They say that means a single-income family will keep an extra $1000 from tax time this year.

The government also wants to lower the 32.5 per cent tax rate to 30 per cent from mid-2024.


Shorten’s magic pudding on tax and surplus

Bill Shorten will promise to extend personal tax cuts to three million more low-­income workers, pledge bigger budget surpluses and chart a course to end government debt, in a bid to neutralise Scott Morrison’s key election strategy painting Labor as an economic wrecking ball.

The leaders faced off yesterday in an aggressive precursor to a pitched electoral battle to win the hearts and minds of middle Australia. With an election expected to be called within days, the Opposition Leader faces a Coalition ­attack depicting Labor’s election platform as a socialist redistribution of wealth that would burden the economy with $200 billion in new taxes.

In a pre-emptive strike ahead of Mr Shorten’s budget reply speech tonight, Josh Frydenberg will today unveil a 16-page brochure ­titled Labor’s Tax Bill. It targets the so-called “retiree tax”, crackdowns on negative gearing, capital gains tax and discretionary trusts, Labor’s “electricity tax” and higher income taxes. “Bill Shorten poses the greatest risk to Australia’s economy in a generation. Labor would put at risk Australia’s 27 years of consec­utive economic growth,” the Treasurer said.

The heightening of the political contest comes as Labor staffers make plans to move to the party’s campaign headquarters in Sydney’s Parramatta this weekend. The Coalition is also setting up its federal campaign headquarters, with 130 staff at a base in Brisbane.

Putting essential services at the centre of his budget-in-reply speech tonight, Mr Shorten will launch a campaign to shift the battle­lines to a fight over universal healthcare.

Labor is also poised to revive the Medicare scare campaign that almost won it the 2016 election on the back of false claims that the Liberal Party planned to privatise the ­national health scheme.

He will also seek to up the ante in the contest over competing ­income tax plans following Mr Frydenberg’s unveiling of a $302bn tax cut agenda in Tuesday’s budget.

With both major parties poised to move swiftly to a campaign footing over the weekend — with the expectation that a May 11 or May 18 poll will be called as early as Sunday — the Labor leader will offer to match the government’s income tax plans for about 10 million people.

But he will also go further and announce deeper cuts for workers on less than $40,000. Labor says there are about 2.9 million taxpayers earning less than $40,000 and 57 per cent of them are women, including part-time working mums.

Mr Shorten argues that a retail worker on $35,000 a year would get a tax cut of $255 a year under the Liberal plan, but $350 under Labor’s original plan. “Make no mistake, this is a Liberal Party tax on working mums,” he said.

“Families are already dealing with cuts to childcare and no funding certainty for kindergarten under the Liberals, the last thing they need is higher taxes under the Liberals. Whether it’s lower taxes, better super or universal preschool, Labor is the party for working mums and working families.”

Mr Frydenberg rejected the claim that the government had left behind low-income earners. He also moved to counter a Labor scare campaign on health, pledging­ that a re-elected Morrison government would “continue to guarantee Medicare”.

Ahead of Mr Shorten’s speech today, Mr Frydenberg said Australians faced a “very clear choice at this election, a choice between Bill Shorten and his $200bn of higher taxes or the Morrison government and our lower taxes”.

“Bill Shorten will talk a big game, but he can’t deliver it. He will give with one hand, and take with the other,” he said.

Speaking to the National Press Club in Canberra yesterday, Mr Frydenberg pointed to the second element of the government’s plan to introduce a flatter tax rate of 30 per cent for those earning ­between $45,000 and $200,000 from July 1, 2024.

“That’s going to create a fairer, simpler tax system,” he said. “And the people at the lower end of the income scale will actually get a higher proportion of their tax bill reduced as a result of the policies that we have put in place.”

He also said that Labor had not supported the government’s legislation — which passed last year — abolishing the 37 per cent tax rate and implementing a flat rate of 32.5 per cent for those earning between­ $41,000 and $200,000 from July 2024.

This week’s budget has further reduced that 32.5 per cent rate to a 30 per cent rate, with Mr Frydenberg saying the system would remain highly progressive, with the top 5 per cent of taxpayers paying a third of all income tax collected.

“Labor talks the big game when it comes to taxes but they deliver very little because, in fact, they are … giving with one hand and taking with the other,” he said.

He also set up the election as a contest over trust on economic management, with the government yesterday framing its budget pitch around the key themes of tax cuts, service delivery and surpluses. Mr Frydenberg used his address­ to home in on essential services in a bid to challenge Labor in its traditional areas of strength, including on health and education, and pitch the Coalition’s policy agenda in a more compassionate light.

Mr Frydenberg said the listing of more than 2000 new drugs on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, at a cost of more than $10bn, was one of the government’s “proudest achievements”, and talked up $730m flowing through to mental health to address­ suicide rates.

Labor also sought to make mileage out of a post-budget decis­ion made by Mr Frydenberg, Mr Morrison and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann to extend a one-off energy payment to people on the dole, adding one million people and $80m to the measure.

Initially only applying to people­ on the age pension, disability support pension, carer payment, single-parent payment and a range of veterans’ allowances, the legislation now includes an additional 11 payment categories.

More than 720,000 people on the Newstart Allowance and almos­t 300,000 on other payments will receive the one-off $75 payment for singles and $125 for couples, with Labor Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen saying the last-minute change was “just chaotic”. “It just shows that this government doesn’t get it and that vulnerable Australians are an afterthoug­ht,” he said.


`Incapable of telling the truth'

Bill Shorten opens up the last Question Time of the 45th parliament asking about "cuts" to schools and hospitals in the budget, and why Malcolm Turnbull is not prime minister.

Scott Morrison responds that the Opposition Leader is "incapable of telling the truth."

"Under our government over the last five years, funding from the Commonwealth for hospitals has increased by 63.2 per cent," the Prime Minister says.

"Under our government, when it comes to public schools, it's state schools, those funding over the last five years, that funding is up by 62 per cent.

"So the Labor Party, they will go to the Australian people and they won't tell them the truth, Mr Speaker, about what the Government has done, but I tell you what they will do - they'll tax Australians and they'll tax them hard."


Feeble defence is still our nation’s shame

GREG SHERIDAN points out that nearly all of our new defence equipment is pie in the sky

Once again we have embarked on a federal budget and an election campaign without the single most important issue — the defence of Australia — playing the slightest role. Speaking technically, that’s completely nuts.

But every element in our strategic circumstances is getting worse, yet we are doing effectively nothing to produce a defence force that might deter our enemies, bolster our friends and defend our nation.

How can this be, with $50 billion for 12 new submarines, $38bn for nine new frigates and $17bn for 72 Joint Strike Fighters?

All of these programs are going to take so long to deliver that we will have passed through the strategic challenge of our time before they arrive. Also, a lot of the money is fictional in that it exists only as a concept long beyond the forward estimates. Nothing is easier for a government to cut than defence money beyond the forward estimates.

On budget night my email inbox, like that of all journalists, pinged relentlessly like a sonar in a nest of enemy ships, with endless emails demanding more social spending. Left-handed hockey trainers beyond the Blue Mountains — neglected in the budget! Inner-city Esperanto therapy — shamelessly ignored!

Most of the causes were worthy but, while we are very wealthy, we are paying ourselves more than we can afford and promising ourselves more than we can deliver, and neglecting basic defence. Our defence strategy is still simply to rely on the Americans.

Our boutique forces are not designed to generate war-fighting capability or any independent strategic effect.

They are designed to slide into the US order of battle in the hope that in return the Americans will always look after us.

Our forces are too small and will be delivered too late. I have written about the new submarines before, but it’s worth recapping the dereliction they represent.

The 2009 defence white paper identified the urgent national priority to double our submarine fleet from six to 12 and make sure these were regionally superior, long-range submarines.

Both governments then made an absolute mess of the project.

The Abbott government announced we would get the first replacement subs by the mid-2020s. That has now slipped a decade and the first of the new subs, if everything goes according to plan, will be fully deployable by 2034 or 2035, according to Defence planning. If we get a new one every two years after that we get our full fleet by 2057. This could conceivably happen a bit earlier or a bit later.

For the sake of rounding, say we get our full fleet by 2059. That means we identified an urgent national priority in 2009 and took about 50 years to address it — 10 years longer than the time from the start of World War I to the end of World War II.

That is not a sign of a nation that takes its own security remotely seriously.

The poor old Collins will be serving antiques, living museums, relics of a bygone era before they are all replaced. And 12 are not enough anyway.

When the Russians rudely and somewhat bizarrely sent a warship to sit menacingly off the Brisbane coast during the G20 meeting we hosted there in 2014, we couldn’t even send a single submarine to shadow it.

They were all — or those of them that were serviceable at the time — on the other side of Australia. If only the Russians had done the polite thing and given us proper advance notice.

A more realistic number for subs would be 18, with nine based on one side of the continent and nine on the other.

The second biggest defence project is the new anti-submarine warfare frigates, a $38bn commitment. We are increasing from eight to nine, though the new frigates will be much bigger and more powerful than the old. This is part of our recognition of our advancing maritime challenge.

So when do we get all nine? Not before 2042-43. We don’t get the first one until 2030. If everything goes to schedule, a huge if, we will be able to retire the last Anzac frigate and replace it after the Anzac has been in service 36 years. And the frigates, though simpler than the subs, will have huge complexities associated with them.

As usual, we chose a design that does not yet exist in a physical ship. BAE, the company involved, makes very good ships and will do a good job for us. But it will only just have built the first of its new design when it is building the first of ours.

As defence analyst Marcus Hellyer has pointed out, our ships will use a different helicopter, different weapons, different radar, a different combat management system. Any chance of a time slippage do you think?

The most on time of the big projects is the 72 Joint Strike Fighter F-35s we are buying. Despite the nonsense you’ll read here and there, these are superb planes and will be regionally superior.

Their delivery date has already slipped a great deal but theoretically, if everything goes right from here, we get all 72 by 2023.

That’s more or less the good news. The JSFs are meant to replace the Hornets, the Super Hornets and the Growlers. But ask yourself this — can we really defend and secure in all circumstances an area the size of the continental US with 70-odd aircraft?

After six years of Coalition government, defence spending, including all operations and the Signals Directorate, comes in at 1.9 per cent of GDP. Defence preparedness is the best way to promote peace. We are not a serious nation. Let’s hope the Americans never tire of defending us.


Principals at some of Australia's most exclusive private schools are paid MORE than the prime minister - with some earning well over half a million dollars a year

The lucrative salaries of principals at Australia's elite private schools have been revealed - with some earning more than the prime minister.

Financial reports of eight top Queensland schools were tabled in the state parliament on Monday, showing parents were paying tens of millions of dollars in fees for their children.

Toowoomba Grammar School headmaster Peter Hauser topped the list in Queensland, making $537,000 in 2018 - a pay rise of $34,000 compared to the previous year.

Mr Hauser's salary pales in comparison to that of some principals in other states.

Former Kambala Girls High School principal Debra Kelliher was earning $650,000 per year before she resigned in 2017, the ABC reported. The school, at Rose Bay in Sydney's affluent eastern suburbs, charges up to $35,000 per year for each student's tuition.

Brisbane Grammar School headmaster Anthony Micallef's pay dropped from 2017 but he still pulled in $513,000, while Brisbane Girls Grammar School principal Jacinda Euler made $509,326 in 2018.

The school leaders each make more than Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's annual salary of $399,955, and they are just behind Prime Minister Scott Morrison's yearly remuneration of $538,000. 

State school principals with the highest salaries make about $171,000 per year.

According to the report tabled in parliament, Toowoomba Grammar School had a decline in enrolments in 2018. The shrinking roll meant income from fees dropped from $22.6million in 2017 to $22.3million in 2018.

The school was first opened more than 150 years ago and has 1180 students.

Brisbane Grammar School's 1700 students brought in $45million in school fees in 2018, while Brisbane Girls Grammar School had 1360 students paying $32million in contributions.


 Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Regarding defence. I just hope if the worst happens and we somehow scrape through that those who held back defence spending and wasted $billions on renewable energy are brought to justice and punished accordingly.