Topics: Personal income tax cuts.
Ali Clarke: Senator Simon Birmingham, South Australian Senator and Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment. Good morning.
Simon Birmingham: Good morning Ali and David.
Ali Clarke: So it looks like the vote has been secured, the tax windfall will come but when do we get the money?
Simon Birmingham: Well the money will certainly start flowing as people put in their tax returns. So the first stage of the income tax cuts that we took to the election and are delivering for the Australian people commenced this financial year and pay off of the back of people’s tax returns as they lodge them as they relate to the last financial year. People were advised by the Tax Commissioner and the ATO will start receiving that full sum by around the end of next week. So if you’re somebody who’s already got your tax return in, congratulations on being a very rapid fire a tax returnee Australian. But also you’ll see that money pretty quickly in terms of getting your response, your full amount and that’s up to a $1080 in the low and middle income tax offset or rebate that people receive and if you are yet to put it in, well then you can be pretty confident that you will receive that full tax refund pretty much as you put it in.
David Bevan: Okay, and you get the full thousand dollars if you earn up to what?
Simon Birmingham: $90,000 and then it tapers down to incomes up to $126,000.
David Bevan: So after $126,000 you don’t get anything.
Simon Birmingham: That’s right, although obviously the further rounds of tax cuts benefit other Australians including those earning more there and ultimately what the full reform package means is that around 94 per cent of Australians will in the future pay no more than 30 cents in the dollar as their top marginal tax rate.
David Bevan: Jacqui Lambie, the Senator from Tasmania she was asking for public housing debt to be waived in return for her support. She didn’t get that did she?
Simon Birmingham: No, look Jacqui and indeed the Centre Alliance senators, we’ve discussed a number of issues that are of mutual concern, agreement to the government in terms of work on areas such as reducing electricity prices, ensuring gas supply and dealing with housing and homelessness issues, and we have clear commitments that we’ll continue to work with those senators in those areas that we have have mutual interests in delivering for the Australian people.
David Bevan: Okay, because Mathias Cormann the Finance Minister said there will be no special deals. So you’ve got to be really careful today when the thing goes through that nobody thinks there’s been a special deal. But there was a wink and a nod to Jacqui Lambie, Rex Patrick and Stirling Griff we’ll give you what you want on the gas, we’ll give you what you want on social welfare housing debt for Tasmania, but that’ll be off in a few weeks or months’ time. So it’s nothing official but trust us, is that the way that negotiations went?
Simon Birmingham: No David, they are your words not my words.
David Bevan: Well I asked you for your words.
Simon Birmingham: They are not the government’s words. As I said before we sit down with crossbench senators and that’s only necessary to do that in relation to this tax bill in particular, because the Labor Party has been so often, so deaf to the message they were given at the at the election and the reality that they still don’t seem to actually have a position as to what an earth that Labor Party are going to do on these bills when it comes to the final vote. But in terms of the crossbench senators whether it’s in relation to this bill, any bill we work with them, we show them the time of day, we sit down and talk about what their issues are, and where they align with issues that fit with the Government’s policy agenda then we’ll get on and cooperate as best we can.
Ali Clarke: That sounds great you know chatting the chat chat and we all sit around and talk about it but with the crucial votes from South Australia was anything specifically secured for us here?
Simon Birmingham: Yes tax cuts for hundreds of thousands of South Australians.
Ali Clarke: But for the crossbenchers nothing else that they were hanging out like Jacqui Lambie was for the $140 plus million that she wanted of low income housing relief, nothing else for South Australia?
Simon Birmingham: What I welcome from the crossbench is that they acknowledge this is good for South Australians, it’s good for Tasmanians, it’s good for all Australians, it’s good for the economy and it’s going to see more hardworking families get to keep more of their tax dollars in the future. And we’re able to do that because we’ve brought the budget back to a position of surplus, because we’ve got an economy that’s seeing record jobs growth and that record jobs growth has meant that we’ve had fewer Australians on welfare, more people paying tax, all of that of course creates the cycle where you can lower the tax burden across the population. And happily the crossbench senators have been willing to recognise that and work on that and the Labor Party have been tone deaf to it and ignored the verdict of the Australian people.
David Bevan: South Australian Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham thanks for your time.
Simon Birmingham: My pleasure.
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