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Australian Greens launch tax overhaul to smash systemic inequality

Leader of the Australian Greens Dr Richard Di Natale today has launched the party’s plan to use our tax system to end poverty and inequality, stripping back tax breaks and ending subsidies to Big Business in favour of funding essential services and increasing Newstart for the first time since 1994.

Following a keynote speech at the Australian Council of Social Services National Conference, Dr Di Natale said Australia’s economic growth was not being shared by all.

“Inequality is baked into our tax and transfers system – and while the size of our economy has doubled since the last recession, income inequality has only worsened,” Dr Di Natale said.

“The income share of the top 1% has doubled, the top 10% now own half of Australia’s total wealth, and that concentration is now growing faster than anywhere else in the world.

“If we are going to tackle this growing divide in Australia, we need to make our economy work for everyone by unshackling inequality from economic growth and using the tax system to invest in public services.”

“Through a Buffet Tax, we can tax loopholes for the super wealthy, fully funding a raise to Newstart of $75 a week. It’s a matter of priorities, and through restricting tax deductions for just 45,000 people, we can bring 838,000 above the poverty line. 

“With inequality on the rise, we can’t keep favouring the super wealthy and the big corporate donors of the Liberal and Labor parties. We can afford to create a fairer Australia if we choose to – and the Greens are leading the way in reducing the inequality that’s entrenched in our system.”

Australian Greens Family, Aging and Community Services spokesperson Sen Rachel Siewert said government wasn’t acting in the interests of people on income support.

“Despite being the second wealthiest country in the world, poverty rates have remained entrenched at a high level, with 3 million people living below the poverty line,” Sen Siewert said.

“Successive Governments have targeted people on income support using them as a budget savings measure, rather than ensuring that our tax system addresses the key issues of poverty and inequality.

“Increasing Newstart and Youth Allowance which have not had an increase in real terms since 1994 would significantly help people struggling to try to make ends meet, our plan ensures that we can pay for an increase in Newstart and Youth Allowance.”

Our new five-point plan to reduce systemic inequality would:

  1. Implement a super-profits tax

Future generations won’t get to share in the profits of our finite resources, yet they will have to contend with the environmental problems created by extractive industries and climate change. We would introduce a 40% super-profits tax on the mining, oil and gas industries in line with the recommendations of the Henry Tax Review.

  1. End the subsidies and handouts

Government subsidies on profit making industries, like mining, take billions of dollars away from schools, hospitals and other essential public services. We would end handouts to big mining, private health and weapons exporters.

  1. Bring back the Carbon Price

Our biggest polluters have collected a staggering $9.5 trillion of corporate profits since 1995, leaving our community to foot the bill to clean up the mess they create. By reintroducing a carbon price, we will reduce emissions, and drive a renewables transition that would then reduce household costs.

  1. Reverse the recent tax cuts

The recent tax cuts by the Liberals and Labor have ripped billions out of the budget, at a time when essential services are severely underfunded. We will reverse the recent cuts and oppose further tax cuts to big corporations and the wealthiest Australians.

  1. Close loopholes in the taxation system

We don’t have a tax system, we have a tax avoidance system. We would implement a Buffet Rule that would establish a minimum tax rate of 35% for every dollar earned above $300,000, raising $10.5 billion in revenue over the estimates. Further, we would stop multinational tax avoidance, crack down on tax avoidance vehicles like trusts and superannuation funds, and increase the top marginal tax rate by 2%.

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