Government takes important steps towards creating a fairer Australia with 2012 Budget
08 May, 2012 | Media Release
Responding to the 2012 Federal Budget, ACTU President Ged Kearney said:
“The 2012-13 Federal Budget will help shape a fairer Australia, through a more progressive tax system, better assistance for low and middle income earners and protection for jobs in struggling businesses.
“The Government has had to perform a difficult balancing act in framing the 2012-13 Federal Budget. It has been driven by its objective of returning to surplus, but has also made several welcome commitments to create a fairer Australia.
“However, while we understand Treasurer Wayne Swan’s objective to deliver a surplus in the coming financial year, it is regrettable that this has resulted in cuts to public services, jobs, and social security for some of our most vulnerable community members.
“The Budget forecasts confirm that Australia’s economy continues to be well-managed, with unemployment much lower than that of the United States and much of Europe.
“However, the Government must remain conscious of the ongoing global economic instability and be prepared to reconsider its position if necessary.
“Specific initiatives we welcome from the Treasurer tonight include the Government’s commitment to the reduction of the inequitable tax concessions on superannuation contributions for high income earners, along with raising the tax free threshold to $18,000, which will mean about 630,000 low paid workers will not pay income tax.
“The crackdown on the living away from home allowance for executives is also good policy. The ACTU publicly called for this change at last year’s Tax Forum, as this is a straight out rort at the expense of working Australians.
“But what matters most is a plan to support Australian jobs, which are under pressure from the high dollar and a weak global economy.
“So we are pleased the Government is showing support for struggling industries, such as manufacturing, with the loss carry back initiative to give businesses experiencing financial difficulties some breathing space.
“This Budget is also sharing the benefits of the mining boom to low and middle income earners, through an increase to the Family Tax Benefit Part A and the new Supplementary Allowance for the unemployed, students, and parents on income support.
“We are also pleased with changes to the Liquid Assets Test, which will mean workers who lose their jobs will be able to keep more of their cash savings and access income support payments sooner.
“Unions also welcome funding to introduce the National Disability Insurance Scheme in 2013 and for aged care reform.”
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