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Tuesday, 2 April 2019
Page: 14537


Mr HAWKE (MitchellSpecial Minister of State) (20:20): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

This bill amends the Medicare Levy Act 1986 and A New Tax System (Medicare Levy Surcharge—Fringe Benefits) Act 1999 to increase the Medicare levy low-income thresholds for singles, families and seniors and pensioners in line with increases in the consumer price index. These changes will ensure that low-income households who did not pay the Medicare levy in the 2017-18 income year will generally continue to be exempt in the 2018-19 income year if their incomes have risen in line with, or by less than, the consumer price index.

The Medicare levy low-income thresholds ensure that people who pay no personal income tax due to their eligibility for structural offsets—such as the low-income tax offset or the seniors and pensioners tax offset—generally do not incur the Medicare levy.

The changes to the thresholds mean that no Medicare levy will be payable for individual taxpayers with a taxable income that does not exceed $22,398 in 2018-19 (increased from $21,980). Single seniors and pensioners with no dependants who are eligible for the seniors and pensioners tax offset will not incur a Medicare levy liability if their taxable income does not exceed $35,418 (increased from $34,758).

Further, in combination with the individual thresholds, couples and families who are not eligible for the seniors and pensioners tax offset will not be liable to pay the Medicare levy if their combined taxable income does not exceed $37,794 (increased from $37,089). Couples and families who are eligible for the seniors and pensioners tax offset will not be liable to pay the Medicare levy if their combined taxable income does not exceed $49,304 (increased from $48,385). The thresholds for couples and families go up by $3,471 for each dependent child or student (increased from $3,406).

The increase in thresholds will apply to the 2018-19 income year and future income years.

Full details of the measure are contained in the explanatory memorandum.

I commend the bill to the House.

Debate adjourned.