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More talk and no action from government on families.

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Media Release




26 February 2003

More talk and no action from government on families “Media reports that Federal Cabinet has again rejected proposals for tax credits reinforce our view that the government is paralysed over its domestic policy agenda. Peter Costello says it’s just too hard. He’s more interested in tax cuts for the top end of town,” Mr Swan and Mr McMullan said.

“Tax credits are the best way to deliver tax assistance to middle and low income families and assist in the transition from welfare to work.”

Mr Swan said: “The Government floating family payment changes without a funding commitment is cynical in the extreme.”

“Treasurer Costello has now told Cabinet what he refuses to tell the Australian people, he will raise the retirement age. Whilst the Treasurer expects Prime Minister Howard to retire at 65, his retirement plan for other Australian workers is ‘work until you drop’.

“While the Government talks about helping families to balance work and parenting responsibilities it refuses to fix its economically irresponsible family payment system, which will leave one in three families with debts this year. This should be the Government’s first priority.

Mr McMullan said: “Mr Costello’s rejection of Tony Abbott’s proposal for tax credits shows the government remains in total confusion about how to deal with the fundamental issue of welfare to work.

“Five times over the past two years Mr Abbott has floated the idea of tax credits, a policy which the Labor Party has long advocated. Each time Mr Abbott has been repudiated by Mr Howard or Mr Costello. But they give no sign they have an alternative plan.

“While this inactivity and confusion continues, lower income families face effective marginal tax rates almost double those for the highest earners. Mr Howard says his priority is to reduce the 47 cent tax rate that includes the wealthiest Australians. He does nothing to tackle the 90 per cent effective marginal tax rates for lower and middle income families.

“The acid test of the government’s intentions will be how much money it allocates in the Budget for these measures over the next 12 months.”

Further information: Wayne Swan on 0418 795 329, Matt Linden, Mr Swan’s office on 0407 430 613 Robert Garran, Mr McMullan’s office on (02) 6277 4803, 0419 692 504