GRACosway Weekly Wrap Up: Small business tax cuts to be fast-tracked

12 October 2018
  • The Federal Government has announced it will bring forward company tax cuts for small and medium businesses by five years.
  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison has released the Terms of Reference and announced the Commissioners for the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
  • Bank CEO’s front up to committee hearings for further parliamentary scrutiny.
  • Labor pledges a $14 billion funding boost for public schools.
  • The Productivity Commission will establish an inquiry into the impact of mental health on the Australian economy.
Small business tax cuts to be delivered five years early   

In a major boost for Australia’s 3.3 million small and medium businesses, the Coalition Government has announced it will legislate to bring forward tax cuts for businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million by five years. At a cost of $3.2 billion to the budget bottom-line, the move will reduce the effective tax rate for eligible businesses to 25 per cent from 2021-22, rather than from 2026-27 as currently legislated. The new plan follows the Government’s failure, earlier this year, to pass the remainder of its signature company tax package which would extend the lower rate to all companies, with commentators speculating that the Government has used this announcement to drive a wedge between itself and Labor in the leadup to the next election. While Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was initially hesitant to declare Labor’s position, he has subsequently provided his support for the new measure.

Aged Care Royal Commission Terms of Reference and Commissioners announced

The Prime Minister has released the Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and announced he has recommended to the Governor General the appointment of the Honourable Justice Joseph McGrath and Lynelle Briggs AO as Royal Commissioners. The Royal Commission will be based in Adelaide and it is proposed it will provide an interim report by 31 October 2019 and its final report by 30 April 2020. The Prime Minister has stressed that this will be a “forward looking” royal commission, while the Health Minister emphasised that the terms of reference have been deliberately broad to allow the Commission the necessary freedom to explore matters as it sees fit.  The Royal Commission will soon establish a website that will provide information about the public consultation process.

CEOs of the four major banks face parliamentary scrutiny

Federal Parliament’s Standing Committee on Economics resumed public hearings this week as part of its ongoing review of Australia’s four major banks. Committee Chair Tim Wilson opened the fourth round of hearings by acknowledging that this was an important opportunity to scrutinise bank CEOs following the “shocking revelations” of the Financial Services Royal Commission interim report.

Labor promises major boost for public school funding 

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has promised a future Labor government will commit an extra $14 billion for public schools over the next decade, with $3.3 billion extra funding being received in the first three school years under the new  framework. Mr Shorten has indicated that state and territory governments will be required to sign up to a new national plan, which will include goals and targets, as a condition of receiving the additional funding.

Productivity Commission to examine mental health challenges 

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Health Minister Greg Hunt have announced the Productivity Commission will establish an inquiry into the impacts of mental health on the national economy and how improvements can be made to national wellbeing. The inquiry will involve broad consultation and regional hearings. The review will begin this month and will deliver its final report to the Government within 18 months.

Looking ahead 

The Federal, NSW, Queensland, SA, WA and Tasmanian Parliaments are sitting next week.


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