Bowen sets the record straight on Labor’s point of view

There is nothing wrong with property investment.” Shadow Treasurer

Chris Bowen




Bowen sets the record straight on Labor’s point of view

There is nothing wrong with property investment.” Shadow Treasurer

Chris Bowen

18/6/2017

(Translation of this article appears in Arabic section)

Sydney -  M. E. TIMES Int'l: Shadow Treasurer Hon. Chris Bowen MP was invited last week by Anne Stanley MP, Federal Member for Werriwa, to a breakfast on Q&A to articulate Labor’s position on a host of topics including the NDIS, the Medicare levy and negative gearing (among others) in response to questions from the audience. The Member for McMahon (NSW) is a former Treasurer and held ministerial portfolios including small business, immigration and financial services.

LtoR: P. Lynch MP, C. Bowen MP, A. Stanley MP and A. Chanthivong

We have a very clear position on funding for the NDIS announced in our budget. Absolutely, the NDIS should be funded and it is funded. When we were in office we set up the NDIS and we funded a number of decisions; we put up the Medicare levy that funded that half of it. Then we changed the private health insurance rebate, we changed the tobacco tax and we did a whole lot of things which were all announced in the budget. Now, the Government does not count those things when they say NDIS is not funded; they only count the original Medicare levy. We accept the need for difficult decisions like personal income tax rises. The Medicare levy applies from $21,000 a year so if we looked at it we need to give it a very serious consideration.  At the moment, for the first time in a long time, real wages are going backwards and people aren’t keeping up with inflation. That is mainly at the low end of the spectrum. We looked at it and said ‘what if we can raise the same amount of money in a slightly different way’ and that is what we have done.  We would increase the Medicare levy from $87,000 and that’s not rich but just slightly better than $21,000. 

Part of attendees during the breakfast

There is nothing wrong with property investment. The rate of property investment in Australia is at a record high.  The first ownership rate is at a record low.  We haven’t had the most generous property cash concessions in the world. We and New Zealand are the only countries with negative gearing. That is not enough.  We announced a series of measures. We would have a national vacant properties tax cut with the revenue going to the states. A national property tax’s not what we want.  We would work with states, on land supply, as a state issue rather than a Federal issue.  What some states and territories are doing is replacing stamp duty with low tax over a long period of time. That has a positive impact on housing affordability.   

On federal government long-term action on stamp duty , and possible policy legislation, it is technically conceivable that what the Commonwealth could provide cash flow assistance for stamp duty because when you are making this change you are not affecting revenue as such; what you are affecting is state cash flow.  States will have a cash flow problem; for those states particularly those without a triple-A rating, we might be able to reach an agreement on cash flow.

Bowen, Stanly and other guests during the breakfast

The signs of climate change … is as certain as the science that tobacco causes cancer.” Chris Bowen

Climate change has been subject to a very robust debate for 15 years and prime ministers lost their job over it, he says. We have an opportunity here to change it. The signs of climate change - and importantly caused by human activity - is as certain as the science that tobacco causes cancer.   You remember all those people saying it was all a conspiracy – ‘tobacco doesn’t hurt me’; you don’t hear that so much.  The degree of scientific certainty is exactly the same between tobacco causing cancer and human activity causing climate change.

Part of attendees during the breakfast

Part of attendees during the breakfast

Part of attendees during the breakfast


 














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