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Greens call on ALP to oppose Howard’s irresponsible tax cuts.

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Bob Brown

Australian Senate Australian Greens Leader

Senator for Tasmania

media release

Monday, 15 October 2007

Greens call on ALP to oppose Howard’s irresponsible tax cuts

The tax cuts announced by the Prime Minister today bring the total cost of tax cuts announced in the last three years to $100 billion, but a pay rise for pensioners is still seen as unaffordable.

“The Prime Minister says he has a vision for tax cuts but he has announced no vision for Australia,” said Greens Leader, Senator Bob Brown.

“Make no mistake, what these tax cuts mean is that Australian families will have to spend more money on private health insurance, more money on private school fees and more money reducing the impact of their own houses on climate change.”

“This government’s ministers seem incapable of identifying a problem that they think they could help solve. The Greens believe that more investment in schools and public hospitals would provide better choices, and better affordability for Australian families.”

The Greens have been calling for an increase in the aged pension of $60 per fortnight which has been costed at $3 billion per year. Despite the fact that this is less than half the cost of next year’s tax cuts the Government and the ALP have dismissed such a call as unaffordable.

“This government’s priorities are all wrong,” said Senator Brown. “The Greens believe that aged pensioners who are living on less than $13,000 per year should receive a pay rise before people earning over $150,000 per year get a tax cut.

“Today I am calling on Kevin Rudd to resist the urge to get into a tax cutting auction with the Coalition. The Greens believe Australia needs to invest in our people, our communities and our environment.”

“The Prime Minister says he has a vision for the tax system, but what we need from both major parties is a vision for Australia’s public hospital system, our public school system, and for tackling climate change and water security.”

“The Prime Minister compares our tax rates with the OECD average, but he should look instead at our spending on education. If Australia invested another $5 billion in education it would bring us up to best OECD practice. That would be a better way to tackle the skills shortage.”

“Last year Nicholas Stern estimated that it would cost developed countries just one per cent of GDP to tackle climate change to secure our future. In Australia one per cent of GDP is around $10 billion per year, which is the average annual cost of the tax cuts announced today,” concluded Senator Brown

Further information: Ebony Bennett 0409 164 603

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