Budget fairness ahead of tax cuts

stuart mcmillanUniting Church President Stuart McMillan has joined 50 prominent Australians in urging Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull not to lower taxes in the federal budget.

Other signatories of the open letter to Mr Turnbull include Justice and International Mission unit director Dr Mark Zirnsak, UnitingCare Australia director Lin Hatfield Dodds, ACTU president Ged Kearney, Nobel prize winner Peter Doherty and a range of economists and public policy experts.

The signatories call on the government to put fairness at the heart of the upcoming federal budget. They argue that taxes are necessary to build a decent society in Australia.

“The pursuit of equity and fairness must lie at the heart of our national goals,” the letter said.

“Collecting more taxes, more equitably, will make Australia a better place to live.”

Data from the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), IMF (International Monetary Fund) and the World Bank indicates that Australia is a relatively low tax country.

Revenue from taxes can fund world-class health, education and transport services. The signatories warn that cutting essential services to grant company tax cuts will increase inequality in Australia. Instead, they believe the federal government should address the inequitable distribution of superannuation tax concessions and the capital gains tax discount.

“While inequality will always be in the community, what matters is its extent, its direction, and its causes,” the letter said.

“What’s more, increasing inequality hurts the economy and divides the community.”

On Saturday, Mr Turnbull told a Victorian Liberal Party conference in Melbourne that the federal budget will be about “prudence, fairness and responsibility to our future generations”. He also urged Australian public to “accept the reality that we must live within our means”.

The federal budget will be announced on 3 May. You can add your name to the open letter here.

UCA Funds Management is hosting a free post-budget breakfast seminar on 17 May at Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club. A panel of speakers will examine the budget’s impact on the not-for-profit sector, including community, health, disability, education, environment and aged care services. Visit the UCA Funds Management website for more information about the event.

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