News

Drum positive about tax cuts

By Myles Peterson

The passage of the Coalition’s tax cuts on Thursday will put an extra $540 in most wage-earners’ pockets for the 2018-19 financial year.

Federal Member for Murray Damian Drum said he was proud of his government’s achievement and looked forward to the economic boost for the region the cuts would engender.

‘‘There are 53000 people in Murray who are going to benefit, anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars per annum up to $500,’’ Mr Drum said.

The measures finally passed the Federal Senate on Thursday after prolonged debate and the eventual agreement of several senators including One Nation’s Paul Hanson.

Labor, the Greens and independent Tim Storer opposed the move.

The unpredictable nature of the current senate make-up saw Mr Drum hoping for a more stable senate after the next election.

Mr Drum expected that election to happen in May next year, but said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull could pull the trigger before then, especially if Labor opted to change leaders, given Bill Shorten’s poor personal polling as Opposition leader.

Mr Shorten was himself critical of part of the tax cuts, particularly a measure that does not kick in for another seven years describing it as a ‘‘complete joke’’.

‘‘Can (Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull) guarantee that he knows what the economy will be like in seven years time?’’ Mr Shorten told reporters in Brisbane.

‘‘If he can’t guarantee that, how can he guarantee these tax scales?’’

Contained in the tax cut package is a measure to create a flat rate of tax for everyone earning between $40000 and $200000 that will not take affect until 2024.

It abolishes the 37 per cent tax bracket, placing everyone below $200000 on a 32.5 per cent rate.

Mr Drum said the effect of such a move would provide certainty for employees.

‘‘For the average punter in Murray ... they’re going to look very favourably on our plan in seven years’ time,’’ he said.

‘‘Ninety-four per cent of people will simply know what their tax bracket is, nearly everybody in the community, once they get a job, they’ll know it’s 32.5 per cent.’’

Labor has threatened to repeal the flat tax rate should it gain office at the next election, but has committed to keep the tax cuts that will kick in from July.

— With AAP