Aussie fury over ‘tax cuts for the rich’
Many Australians have responded with fury over a budget they saw as providing "tax cuts for the rich" and a lack of support for those struggling to get by.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will forge ahead with tax cuts due to deliver huge reductions for higher income earners in 2024.
The Federal Government has tried to keep the focus on the one-year extension of the Low and Middle Income Tax Offset (LMITO or "Lamington"), which is worth up to $1080 for singles and $2160 for couples earning under $126,000.
But budget papers confirmed the Stage 1 tax break could be axed next year, leaving these workers facing a higher tax bill.
Meanwhile, the Stage 3 cuts that remain in place for 2024 will introduce a single flat tax rate on every dollar earned between $45,000 and $200,000, benefiting Australia's highest earners.
"Low income Australians get a once off handout," said campaigner Dee Madigan on Twitter. "Rich people get an ongoing one through tax cuts. Not fair."
Many said that the extra budget funding for domestic violence services and aged care support and increased JobSeeker payments were not enough.
RELATED: Budget's big winners and losers
The Morrison Government plans to spend an extra $680 million on domestic violence programs and $17.7 billion on aged care. Australians struggling to find work will see an increase in the base rate of working-age payments by $50 per fortnight, along with an increase in their obligations and "intensive activity" required after six months of unemployment.
But some commentators said the extra JobSeeker funding still wasn't enough to ensure out-of-work Australians can eat, pay rent and afford to attend and dress for job interviews.
Sally McManus, Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, said living standards were "going backwards".
CALL FOR AN ELECTION NOW @ScottMorrisonMP your budget is just for the rich again and doesn't really benefit women, poor,homeless,enviroment,housing quaritine and you never mentioned that you still intend to put all social security recipients on the cashless card including the age— marie5 (@marie19705) May 11, 2021
University of Adelaide economics lecturer Steven Hail said the Government had chosen "not to raise Jobseeker payments permanently to non-poverty levels" and "not to end involuntary underemployment".
Others were concerned over the $747m funding for defence and $58.6m for gas projects alongside a lack of support for the environment and cuts to universities.
"Nothing for universities, tax cuts for the rich, nothing for the environment, minuscule increase in JobSeeker, funding for new gas and coal projects. I'm struggling here," said Monash plant science professor Ros Gleadow.
"How about we spend big on vaccinations in Australia and open the borders, rather than giving more tax cuts to the rich?!?" tweeted Australian National University art history lecturer Robert Wellington.
Alison Barnes from the National Tertiary Education Union accused the Government of a "higher education sector burning" with "immeasurable expertise lost" from what should be the "engine room" for jobs, skills and innovation.
Lawyer Sophie Trevitt said she had hoped to see funding allocated to justice reinvestment, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services and community-controlled programs.
"Instead we get a punishingly low #JobSeeker rate that will drive people into poverty and prisons, barely any additional funding for family violence prevention and legal services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, no new ATSILS funding and no justice reinvestment," she wrote.
"Another reminder that our Government doesn't care about most Australians," said one man of the cuts to the NDIS Quality and Safeguard Commission. "And budget increases for DV services, aged care, etc are significantly less than what they should be. But hey, tax cuts for the rich!"
“Australia is playing its part on climate change, having met our 2020 commitments and on track to meet and beat our 2030 target.”— Nick McKim (@NickMcKim) May 11, 2021
Translation: I hope you forgot what I just said about giving more public money to big polluters.
The NSW Nature Conservation Council said nature and the climate were "big losers in a budget that was supposed to have something for everyone".
This govt have objected to 'big govt'..while praying to the altar of divine austerity for years— ShiannonCorcoran (@ShiannonC) May 11, 2021
So expect a 'big spend' whitewash
Handouts 2 corporations
Tax cuts 4 the rich
Uni funding cuts over next 10 years
Wages will go backwards
Despite some funding - r still underfunding
Wealthier Australians may also benefit in other ways from the budget beyond the upcoming tax cut. Any business with an income of less than $5 billion can write off the full value of eligible assets until June 30, 2023, in a tax break expected to reduce tax revenue by $17.9 billion over the forward estimates.
Families earning more than $189,390 will also have the $10,560 annual subsidy cap for childcare removed under changes set to come into effect in July 2022. And well-off over 60s looking to downsize could benefit as they will be able to put up to $300,000 earned from selling their property towards their super.
Pensioners got totally NOTHING— Ewart Dave 🎺 (@davidbewart) May 11, 2021
Homeless got NOTHING
Originally published as Aussie fury over 'tax cuts for the rich'