National President
Darren Churchill

 MEDIA RELEASE :   Monday, 11th July, 2011


The Gillard government’s tax changes in the carbon price scheme do little for low- income families while imposing real and permanent costs on the vulnerable, Australian Democrats National President Mr Darren Churchill said today.

“Low income families lack the financial capacity to re-engineer energy use with new low-energy appliances and altered consumption patterns.

“Many of these marginal households are already struggling to raise children in hardship conditions. They must watch every cent they spend, every day of the year. They are caught by poverty traps in the interplay between the social security system and low paid or casual work.

“The greatest incentive to work and employment any government can confer is to allow low-income earners to keep the fruits of their labour.

“We campaigned loud and long in the last federal election to lift the tax-free threshold to at least $25,000. That $25,000 tax-free figure must be the starting line before offsets for the carbon tax begin to be calculated – and it’s not too late to amend the legislation.

“The Howard government’s three sweeping tax cuts for high income earners and the constant erosion of 2.5 to 3 per cent inflation over recent decades shrank the progressive nature of income tax. Progressive personal income tax rates are a key tool for government in fulfilling the national objective of poverty reduction.

“PM Gillard should have seized the opportunity presented in putting a price on carbon to completely remake personal income taxes. Instead, she has dribbled out ‘offsets’ and pretends they avoid disadvantage.

“Old age pensioners will suffer too. Deaths among the elderly always peak with the hottest and coldest days each year. The elderly poor will now be ‘incentivised’ through higher costs to cut their energy consumption at these extremes.

“If death rates spike in this group after energy is re-priced, we will know why.

“The Democrats actively support a carbon price to slow anthropogenic climate change and reduce atmospheric pollution,” Mr Churchill concluded. “But as usual, government has fallen short of the mark”.

Media comment: Darren Churchill ph. 0412196473

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