Tax cuts for Queenslanders in time for Christmas
Tax cuts look set to flow to millions of Aussies before Christmas, with Labor indicating it will back the $50 billion plan, even as it accuses the government of wracking up a $1 trillion debt without doing enough to create jobs.
The cuts mean Australians will have more disposable income in their pockets than pre-COVID levels, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg spruiked yesterday - if they still have jobs.
There is speculation that Prime Minister Morrison could come to Queensland next week as part of a budget roadshow, but it is understood a final decision has yet to be made.
The Morrison Government on Tuesday handed down what it dubbed the most important budget since World War II as it injected $98 billion in stimulus to deal with the pandemic recession.
It means the deficit will hit $213 billion this year, while gross debt will top $1.1 trillion within four years and hit $1.7 trillion within a decade.
The tax cuts would mean between $20 and $50 a week in 2.3 million Queenslander's pay packets, depending how much they earn, with another $1080 to $1280 after they fill out their tax returns from July next year.
An Australian Tax Office spokeswoman confirmed the cash would flow "as soon as practicable" once the laws pass parliament and employers update their payroll processes.
It will need bipartisan support to be confirmed for the full tax package the government is putting up, including the $27 billion instant asset write off for business, but Labor has indicated it is "inclined" to back it in.
Mr Frydenberg said this meant the money would be flowing by November or Christmas at the latest.
"Our economic recovery plan will see billions of dollars in additional support flow into pockets of Australian households and families," he said.
"This will see disposable income continue to remain above pre-COVID levels, even as our temporary crisis support measures are gradually unwound."
Another key measure in the budget was the JobMaker credit plan, which pays employers up to $200 a week if they hire an unemployed Australian aged under 35.
Opposition treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers said the budget was a missed opportunity, given the size of the debt being put on future generations.
"We need to remember that even after a trillion dollars of debt, still 160,000 Australians are expected to lose their job between now and the end of the year," he said.
He said the JobMaker credit did nothing for older Australians.
"If Scott Morrison was serious about driving down unemployment and kick starting the recovery he would not be excluding almost a million Australians aged over 35 on unemployment payments from this new wage subsidy scheme," Mr Chalmers said.
A Government spokesman said there was an existing Restart Program which paid employers up to $10,000 if they hire a job seeker aged 50 or older for at least 12 months.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the debt and deficit was necessary to stimulate the economy in extraordinary economic circumstances.
"If we didn't take the action we're taking right now, there wouldn't be anything left to leave to them," he said.
"We would leave an economy with young people not in jobs, businesses that are forever shuttered."
While most of NSW remains barred from Queensland by the border closure, Mr Morrison will have been in Canberra for the required 14 days from early next week.
It has created speculation he will be in Queensland for a post-budget roadshow, and during the election campaign.
Mr Morrison said "you never know" when asked if he would be making it to the state for the election campaign.
"I'd love to get up to Queensland. I've missed being able to get up to Queensland," he said.
"I've been keen to see things open up in Queensland. I mean, it's for the Queensland Premier to decide how long she keeps Queensland shut. But if you're for jobs, you need to open."
Originally published as Tax cuts for Queenslanders in time for Christmas