GRACosway Weekly Wrap Up
The Prime Minister travelled to Queensland this week to promote key budget measures, while also making a trip to South Australia to release the Government’s $89 billion Naval Shipbuilding Plan. Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen delivered his budget reply speech to the National Press Club on Wednesday, criticising the Budget’s tax measures and describing the Government’s housing affordability package as a “sham”. He indicated that Labor would restrict the Medicare levy increase to top income earners and implement a permanent deficit levy, creating a top marginal tax rate of 49.5 per cent.
Australia’s big four banks have called for the 0.06 per cent bank liabilities levy announced in the Federal Budget to also apply to foreign banks operating in Australia. Labor has indicated it may support the proposal on the basis that domestic institutions are at a “competitive disadvantage” to overseas counterparts, while former bank executive Mike Smith has warned that such a move may cause foreign banks to withdraw from Australia, negatively impacting the domestic market. Meanwhile, the Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA) has called for the $6.2 billion tax measure to be legislated, as a variable levy would remain open to future increases, as seen in the UK. See the media coverage here.
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security Dan Tehan has described the recent international cyber-attack as “another wake-up call” for businesses and the Australian public service. The ‘WannaCry’ ransomware virus which affected the UK National Health Service this week also infected US-based FedEx, Telefonica in Spain, and French car manufacturer Renault. Mr Tehan urged businesses to engage with the Australian Cyber Security Centre and update their software to prevent attacks. See the media coverage here.
Long-serving NSW Nationals MLC Duncan Gay has announced his retirement after almost 30 years in politics. Mr Gay was elected to the State’s Legislative Council in 1988 and went on to serve as Minister for Roads and Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council. His last sitting day in the Legislative Council will be 22 June. See the media coverage here.
The Federal, NSW, Victorian, Queensland, WA and Tasmanian parliaments sit next week.