Labor hails ‘great day’ as middle income tax cuts clear lower house

A redistribution of stage three tax cuts towards middle and lower income Australians has passed the House of Representatives.

Feb 15, 2024, updated Feb 15, 2024
Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers at the National Press Club of Australia in Canberra, (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers at the National Press Club of Australia in Canberra, (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

The controversial changes to the tax cuts passed the lower house with the support of the coalition and the crossbench.

Under the amended proposal, those earning under $150,000 will receive a greater tax cut than under the original plan legislated by the former coalition government.

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

The legislation will move to the Senate for debate, and if it passes, will come into effect from July 1.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the tax cuts represented cost of living relief.

“This is indeed a great day, it is a great day on so many levels, this is a day in which every Australian will get a tax cut, all 13.6 million of them,” he told parliament.

“We want people to earn more and we want workers, every taxpayer, to keep more of what they earn.”

The coalition had agreed to support the tax cuts, despite initially coming out against the measures.

The opposition did put forward an amendment to the bill, but only to change the legislation’s official name to include the phrases “broken promise” and “entrenching bracket creep”.

While the prime minister said during the 2022 election Labor would not alter the stage three tax cuts, he said economic circumstances had changed since the original measures were brought in during 2019.

“This package is a package that doesn’t leave people behind who earn under $45,000 a year,” Mr Albanese said.

“Politicians will get less from this legislation, but average workers will get more.”

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the tax cuts would back in workers.

“This bill is all about backing in the hard work of the truckies and the nurses and the teachers and the police officers and the steelworkers and the plumbers and the sprinkler fitters and the early educators,” he said.

“We reject the approach taken by (the opposition) who say that the only way to prosper as a country is for the Australian people to work longer and for less pay.”

But opposition MP Bert van Manen said the tax cuts did not go far enough to provide substantial relief.

“We’re seeing nothing in this bill that will deal with the cost of living, $15 a week is not going to scratch the surface when people are at a minimum of $150 a week worse off,” he said.

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