Re-thinking Stage 3 Tax Cuts
The countdown is well and truly on to the Albanese Government’s first (mini) budget which will be handed down on 25 October 2022.
The Treasurer has foreshadowed some cost-of-living support will be provided and there is fierce public debate underway regarding the future of the Stage 3 Tax Cuts.
The message I have heard loud and clear from our community is that in the context of the current cost-of-living crisis, with so many competing demands on finite government resources, we simply can’t afford to proceed with this policy as it currently stands.
I have made this position clear to the Treasurer and said the Government can count on my support in the Senate for a repeal or redesign of the Stage 3 Tax Cuts.
As we will hear time and again in coming weeks, budgets are all about priorities. And there are fairer ways to use the $243 billion of tax cuts to address cost of living challenges being felt across the country.
The priority for this budget has to be taking the pressure off household budgets, investing in essential services and looking after the most vulnerable in our community.
In this high inflation environment, with an acute shortage of social and affordable housing, trying to get by on $48 a day just isn’t doable.
I was proud to stand alongside ACOSS last sitting week, supporting their call to #raisetherate as they released their latest report, How JobSeeker and other income support payments are falling behind the cost of living.
Landing the new national anti-corruption commission
The other big news coming out of the last sitting week was of course the introduction of legislation to establish our first ever national anti-corruption commission.
Transparency, integrity, accountability were three biggest takeaways from the last election and the new NACC will be a vital tool in achieving that.
A new joint parliamentary select committee has been established to oversee the NACC that will be chaired by Senator Linda White with Independent Member for Indi, Dr Helen Haines as Deputy Chair. I am a participating member of the committee as well.
The Committee will examine the more than 236 pages of legislation and provides an opportunity for broad consultation on key design elements, such as the need for public hearings, retrospectivity and the power to investigate third parties.
You can provide your thoughts on the legislation and key design principles directly to the Committee which is currently accepting submissions and is due to report on or before 10 November 2022. Keep an eye out for public hearing dates to be published shortly.
I have also created a short survey if you would like to share your views on the main elements.
Another important inquiry currently underway is into the 2022 federal election and I am working with ProACT and a group of Team Pocock volunteers and local experts on a comprehensive submission.
This will cover a whole range of important issues including:
- Truth in political advertising
- Donations reform
- Representation for the ACT
I look forward to sharing a copy of the submission with you once finalised.
ACT asks for the October Budget 2022
While the Government is seeking to manage expectations leading into the October Budget, key from my perspective will be ensuring funding is delivered for its election commitments to the ACT.
Here’s a quick recap of some of the main items that have been committed and I will be looking out for:
- $15 million for upgrades to re-open the AIS Arena
- $5 million for cycle path upgrades
- $5 million to revitalise the Gorman House Arts Centre
- $10 million for a Youth Foyer at the Woden CIT campus
- Funding to establish a Medicare Urgent Care Clinic
- Funding to establish a Veterans Wellness Centre
Analysis undertaken during the campaign revealed how short-changed we have been in the ACT on infrastructure funding over the past decade and I’ll be looking to see our share increase over coming years.
I am continuing to push the Federal Government to forgive the ACT’s historic housing debt to enable some $33m currently slated to go towards interest payments to be re-directed into new social and affordable housing supply.
I’ve also asked the Government to consider going ahead with former Senator Seselja’s proposal to make the CSIRO Ginninderra site available for social housing development. More ambitious housing policy is needed but this will help.
Following the Budget, I’ll be heading into my first week of senate estimates which I have already commenced preparing for.
Estimates is an important transparency and accountability mechanism and if there are particular programs or policies you would like me to explore please don’t hesitate to send your ideas through to the office on [email protected]
Speaking of housing, members of my team loved having the chance to visit the Community Inclusion Program at Oaks Estate last week meeting with residents and hearing about the terrific work Vinnie’s and other frontline service providers are doing to support.
Oaks Estate Residents’ Association is hosting their inaugural Spring Fair next Saturday 15 October 2022 between 11am and 3.30pm.
Get along if you can and check this fantastic but oft-forgotten corner of the ACT.
On Sunday 23 October 2022 we will be hosting another tree planting day, this time in partnership with Turner Parkland Landcare from 8.30 to 11.30am. Details here.
We also have our third and final Town Hall for the year coming up on 16 November from 6.30 to 7.30pm in Gungahlin. This will be just before the final (scheduled) sitting fortnight for the year and a great chance to raise important issues, ask questions and provide feedback before parliament finishes for the year. Please don’t hesitate to submit your questions (or upvote those of others) at this link.
With the weather warming up, I’ll also be looking to re-start our ‘Politics in the Park’ informal catch ups - more details to follow soon.