Haines: My question is to the Prime Minister. Today the government introduced the tax cuts bill. Many in my regional electorate of Indi will benefit from that. But there are 25,000 people who have incomes below the tax-free threshold, and these tax cuts won’t put more money back in their pockets. There are also 20,000 people on the age pension and thousands more on other payments, like JobSeeker, who are struggling with fixed incomes. What new action will you now take to address cost-of-living pressures for these people?
Prime Minister: I thank the member for Indi for her question. We had a meeting earlier today and talked about the tax cuts that were introduced by the Treasurer at 12 o’clock. Indeed, the people of regional Australia in particular will benefit from Labor’s tax cuts that will help to deal with the cost of living. In Indi, some 87 per cent of taxpayers will get even more. But 100 per cent of taxpayers will get a tax cut.
One of the things about the Treasury analysis that we released spoke about was bracket creep, particularly for those people on low incomes. According to the Treasury, in the documentation that we released, they said:
By reducing the first tax rate from 19 to 16 per cent, the redesign produces a smaller increase in average tax rates … for the first seven income deciles over the next 10 years. In other words, it reduces bracket creep more for these groups compared with … Stage 3 and a no change scenario.
Disappointingly, I’m sure he was going to ask a question about our tax package next, Mr Speaker. I’m sure it was going to come.
What we have been trying to address is the cost-of-living pressures, including on the people that the member for Indi raises. They were particularly beneficiaries of our rental increase, the largest increase in some 30 years. They benefited from the increase in JobSeeker and other payments that we introduced as part of our last budget. They benefited, certainly, from the cheaper medicines policy, where Australians benefited to the tune of $250 million last year—and that was, of course, disproportionally towards low-income earners and particularly older Australians who are on those regular pharmaceuticals, whether it be for heart treatment or diabetes or other treatments.
In addition to that, the government will continue to consider, as we’ve said, in the lead-up to the May budget what further measures we can put in place. The parenting payment difference, of course, benefited 57,000 largely single mums as a result of the changes we’ve put in place.
We’ll continue to examine what we can do, but these tax cuts are particularly aimed at middle Australia. We make no apologies for that. They are aimed at middle Australia to provide them with the relief— (Time expired)