Tax and social reform on the election agenda

The Australian National University (ANU) has joined forces with the Society of St Vincent de Paul on a new report highlighting reforms that could make tax and welfare systems fairer ahead of federal elections.

The report examines three options to help families and individuals at risk of deep poverty and financial stress.

The least costly measure for the government increases JobSeeker by $150 per fortnight. The “medium” option increases JobSeeker, Disability Support and Carer pensions by $200 per fortnight, and increases Parenting Payment (Single) to a new JobSeeker rate for single parents ($886 per fortnight).

The ‘high’ option increases JobSeeker by $436 per fortnight, disability support and child care pensions by $200 per fortnight, parental payment at the new JobSeeker rate and Part A of the Family Tax Benefit by 20% ($40 per fortnight for children under 13).

All three options also include a 50% increase in rental assistance.

“The Society strongly supports the ‘high’ option identified in the ANU report,” said Society of Saint Vincent de Paul National President Claire Victory.

“It would help lift a million people out of poverty and restore their dignity, and in many cases help them back into the labor market. Far too many Australians are struggling to feed themselves, pay rent in conditions often inadequate housing and ensuring that their children get the start in life they deserve Increased social security improves health, well-being and social outcomes, and also benefits the economy – so it’s a win-win situation from all points of view.

JobSeeker’s most recent increase was $13 a fortnight, which the research found would have no impact on poverty given inflation.

According to the research, these strategies would only marginally affect the better-off and have no net impact on the nation’s fiscal position.

“Our modeling shows that you could make a huge difference in the lives of the bottom 20% of earners while making only a minimal change to the incomes of the top 20%,” said the associate professor of the ‘ANU, Ben Phillips.

“Under the changes we are proposing, those with the highest incomes would continue to retire with very healthy retirement savings and continue to benefit strongly from their other investments. above the poverty line.

Meanwhile, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) has backed Labor’s decision to remove the tax cap.

The move would reverse a 2019 policy that would have seen caps applied to the amount of money people can claim to file their taxes and manage their tax affairs.

From the day it was announced, CA ANZ has called on Labor to drop the proposed $3,000 cap because it would have discouraged people from seeking tax advice.

“It would have hit people hard when they find themselves at difficult or decisive times in their lives, such as going through a relationship breakdown, dealing with the tax consequences of a death in the family, liquidating a business or planning for retirement” , senior tax attorney for CA ANZ Susan Franks said.

“In the midst of such stressful and costly events, Australians shouldn’t have to pay tax on money spent on tax advice – they should be encouraged to get the best advice so they don’t go wrong. ‘error.”