Budget 2019: Labor’s Reply

A selection of quick highlights from Labor’s Budget Reply that governance professionals may find of interest.

Compare to the Government’s Budget 2019. 

Key messages

Bill Shorten: “We choose our healthcare system over bigger tax loopholes”

  • $2.3bn Healthcare/Medicare Cancer plan (over 4 years), including free MRIs ($600m) and consults ($433m)
  • Extra $1bn for ‘low income earners’ — tax breaks focused on workers earning less than $40k
  • Will cancel Government’s proposed 32.5c to 30c drop and $45,000-$200,000 ‘flat tax’ tax bracket for FY2024
  • $1bn (up $430m) for TAFEs
  • Dividend Imputation (Franking Credits) will be removed
  • “Put back every public school and health dollar cut by the coalition” (unspecified, uncosted)
  • Pledges to restore $83 million ABC funding plus provide another $10 million to support regional news and emergency broadcasting
  • Pledges Indigenous Australian recognition in the constitution

Business tax cuts

Announcement: Will provide an extra 20% tax break for every business that invests in productivity boosting equipment above $20,000.

No tax cuts for small business or corporations. 

Increased regulator funding

No announcement.

Skills training

Announcement: $1bn total for TAFE (up $430m), and an additional 150,000 apprentices overall. $200m funding to regional campuses.

150,000 apprentices will go to TAFE with no upfront fees. As part of federal infrastructure programmes (see below) — 1/10 employed must be Australian apprentices.

$330bn for Apprentice Incentives programme — employers who take on apprentices received $8k. Includes $2k to new apprentices to cover their education.

Uncapped entry to university, opening up 200,000 spots for students.

Environment and sustainability

Announcement: Most already announced on 1/4/2019 (uncosted). View Labor’s press release.  

  • $2,000 subsidy to families that want to install batteries
  • Wants to create a local electric car, lithium battery industry
  • Focus on renewable energy
  • Restore local recycling industry 

Personal tax cuts

Budget announcement: Will match Government’s lower-middle class tax rate ($48k-$126k) — $1080 p/y, or $2160 for dual income earners (from 2018-19 financial year)

Workers earning up to $37,000 a year will receive a tax cut of up to $350.

Workers between $37,000 and $48,000 a year, the value of the offset will increase up to the maximum offset of $1,080.

Health

Announcement: $2.3bn healthcare/Medicare, including free cancer MRIs ($600m) and consults ($433m) — all bulk billable.

Guarantees to list all cancer drugs on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, as recommended by experts.

Free preschool/kindergarten for 3-4 year olds — 15 hours a week, 40 weeks a year (uncosted)

10 days of paid working leave for victims of family violence (uncosted).

Infrastructure

Announcement$1.5 billion upgrade to Brisbane's Gateway Motorway from Bracken Ridge to Pine River and next stage of Bruce Highway from northern suburbs to Caboolture. 1/10 staff must be Australian apprentices (see above).

Wants to build 250,000 affordable houses  largest building project since WW2 (uncosted). 

Quick summary

While most of these proposed measures are welcomed as a good stimulus to the economy, particularly the healthcare sector and boosts for training and education, there is limited detail and costings of a number of the Opposition leader's proposed policies. It is also disappointing there are no announcements around funding for the financial sector’s regulators, or any mention of the Banking Royal Commission at all. We look forward to further information on all of these proposals across the coming month, leading into the Federal election.

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