Superannuation review delivers on Greens negotiations: $30b in clumsy tax concessions needs urgent attention
29 Jan 2012
Australian Greens Acting Leader Christine Milne today welcomed the Government's superannuation review announcement, which delivers on a Greens' proposal, and said $30 billion in tax concessions needed to be dealt with to ensure a fairer outcome.
"As part of the discussions about the mining tax package the Greens had detailed discussions with the Government about the revenue going to superannuation, and the need to review superannuation tax concessions, because significant changes should be made to make the system more equitable," Senator Milne said.
"Current superannuation tax concessions are enormous. The inequities they present for people trying to save for their retirement should be addressed as soon as possible. There are $30 billion worth of superannuation tax concessions per year. Almost half those tax breaks go to the wealthiest 12% and almost a fifth go to the wealthiest 2% of Australians.
"The current clumsy arrangements do nothing to narrow the gap between rich and poor. If you are on the top marginal tax rate of 45% your tax break on super is up to 30%. If your earnings are taxed at the lowest marginal tax rate of 15% then your concession is zero. If you do not pay income tax, you still pay 15% on any superannuation contribution.
"Dealing with these inequities should occur before the Senate finalises the mining tax package [which includes the increase in the superannuation guarantee from 9% to 12%]. The review's timetable appears too long, as legislation for the mining tax and super guarantee increase will be debated in the Senate this year and this should be settled by then," Senator Milne said.
"It is important that these issues are dealt with as soon as possible and are not solely dependent on a mining tax package that has already been significantly watered down by the Government.
"Inequality in Australia is growing and unless superannuation tax concessions are altered this can only get drastically worse," Senator Milne said.
25 Jan 2012
The Australian Greens are popular and support is growing, and a slap from a government minister is just part of the political debate which is increasingly demonstrating that Labor - whether it's the mining tax or pokies reform - will opt for the interests of big business over working people almost every time, Acting Leader Christine Milne said today.
"The main focus should be on representing people effectively and achieving a transition to a sustainable, cleaner economy with social and environmental outcomes that we can all be proud of. Mr Albanese seems to think that the pinnacle is being a Cabinet minister," Senator Milne said.
"By his focus on the politics and not the outcomes, Mr Albanese has demonstrated why people are losing faith in the old political parties and the Cabinet ministers who represent them.
"The record will show that it is the Greens in the balance of power who have always demonstrated the most responsible attitude to managing the economy, from getting Tasmania out of debt in the 1990s to supporting and improving the stimulus package during the global financial crisis to make it more jobs-friendly.
"His mere contention that the Greens should have supported the dud package that he signed off on under the Rudd government, because it would have delivered a Turnbull-led opposition rather than an Abbott-led opposition, shows he is all about the politics and not about genuine climate outcomes.
"If anything, he has demonstrated the critical role the Greens played in negotiations for a multi-party committee on climate change and the whole-of government approach which will now deliver the biggest investment ever in renewable energy and energy efficiency while reducing carbon emissions and implementing the polluter-pays principle.
"As the community becomes more aware of the urgency of addressing the ecological and economic crises facing the planet, they will increasingly turn to the Greens because people recognise the deep commitment to the issues that the Greens bring to the Parliament," Senator Milne said.
24 Jan 2012
Greens MP and industry spokesperson, Adam Bandt, says future assistance to the car industry needs to drive innovation and a shift to electric vehicles if an Australian car industry is to survive.
Minister Carr and car companies can't just blame the high dollar for job cuts. They must take responsibility for their failure to adapt to the new market.
"The car industry needs to go green if it is to survive," Mr Bandt said.
"The government needs to play a more active role in driving innovation and require the industry to change. Instead, it is going in the other direction. The government has given $100 million to Toyota for little change and no protection to workers. Job security should be a key criterion for any future funds."
"Ultimately, we need to shift to an industry focused on electric mobility. That is where the world is heading and we need to get ahead of the game."
"We opposed the scrapping of the Green Car Innovation Fund because though it had problems, it was a step in the right direction. As we move to mandatory vehicle fuel efficiency standards, government needs to put something in place of the Green Car fund."
"A start would be an initial investment of at least $75 million in an Electric Vehicle fund, which would pay for electric vehicle development and trials, as well as recharging infrastructure."
20 Jan 2012
Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown today launched an analysis of Tasmania's economic potential which finds 3000 jobs could be created from the $120 million fund promised in the intergovernmental forest agreement.
"This fund has the potential to create more than 3000 jobs in regional areas which would largely replace the 3500 jobs lost from forestry since 2008," Senator Brown said.
"But this money will only flow if there is a strong conservation legislative outcome by June this year.
"I commissioned this report to show Tasmanians the sorts of ideas that could be implemented to create an environment that will help small businesses flourish, with protection of the forests at the heart of reforms.
"Edwards and Hanson have interviewed people from Tasmania's business, tourism and academic sectors to come up with an indicative set of projects that could help stimulate private sector investment.
"Their report is a springboard for discussion. I've got a few ideas of my own, including establishing an institute to foster and retain Tasmania's world-leading track-building skills and promoting the far south as a tourism destination for its interesting mix of tourist railway, caves, spectacular coastal walking and historical sites of French arrival," Senator Brown said.
*The report's authors are Naomi Edwards BSc (Hons) FIA, FIAA, FNZSA who is a Tasmanian financial and economic consultant and Jamie Hanson BA(Hons) BPhil (Oxford) a Tasmanian researcher recently returned to his home shores.
04 Jan 2012
Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown spoke with Waleed Aly about the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Greens initiative to fund renewable energy innovation and investment. He also discussed the release of the Hawke government cabinet papers.
03 Jan 2012
Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown today supported calls from the ACTU and ACOSS for changes to the $30 billion worth of superannuation tax concessions that favour top earners before the Gillard Government’s mining tax package is debated in the Senate.
“The Government has linked the mining tax to a rise in the superannuation guarantee to 12% from 9%. We are supportive of the rise but believe significant changes need to be made to taxation arrangements to make the system fairer and more equitable,” Senator Brown said.
03 Jan 2012
Australian Greens Leader Senator Bob Brown held a press conference to discuss superannuation tax fairness, and the Three Capes walking trail in Tasmania.
21 Dec 2011
The discussion paper and call for submissions into a National Energy Savings Initiative released by Minister Combet today is another great Greens idea coming to fruition.
"Energy efficiency is not only the easiest and fastest way to cut pollution, but it actually saves us all money while we're doing it," said Acting Leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Christine Milne.
"For too long, governments, businesses and householders haven't tackled our hugely wasteful use of energy because there has been no clear and urgent driver to do so.
"With a price on carbon coming in, a National Energy Savings Initiative to help people find the best ways to save money and cut pollution makes perfect sense and we're very glad the government has taken up this idea.
21 Dec 2011
The Greens encourage local communities to apply for funds to replant and restore bushland, restore native habitats including wetlands and to reduce the impacts of weeds and feral animals under the Commonwealth $946 million Biodiversity Fund grants program they negotiated as part of the Clean Energy Future Package.
"Enhancing and restoring carbon in the landscape and creating jobs in rural Australia is a win‐win for the climate and the community," Acting Greens Leader, Christine Milne said.
"To stop global warming worsening we need to stop carbon dioxide emissions from the stacks and at the same time we need to prevent the release of carbon already stored in the landscape and add to that store with restoration of degraded forests and wetlands."
"The money we get from taxing the big polluters can go directly back to the local community, as a permanent legacy of restored bushland."
20 Dec 2011
Greens MP Adam Bandt says he will test support for the establishment of a new sovereign wealth fund when Parliament resumes next year.
Mr Bandt says there is growing support inside the old parties for a new sovereign wealth fund. He wants use the opportunity provided by the current Parliament to take the first steps next year towards establishing a new fund.
"Establishing a sovereign wealth fund is the next big step in economic reform," Mr Bandt said.
"We are selling off our resources without putting any aside for a rainy day or a post-mining boom economy."
"We are squandering a once in a lifetime opportunity to set the country up for the future."
"A new fund could be another important economic stabiliser and provide the country protection from overheating or a future economic downturn."
"A new sovereign wealth fund could provide for the country's future infrastructure needs."
"At least 36 countries in the world now have sovereign wealth funds and a Productivity Commission review will assist us in establishing the best way for Australia, including any changes to the existing Future Fund."
The motion reads:
That the House:
1) resolves that a new Australian sovereign wealth fund should be established; and
2) calls on the Treasurer to present a report from the Productivity Commission detailing options as to:
* how the fund should be established;
* the fund's revenue and expenditure;
* the fund's objects and governance structures; and
* any other relevant matters.
This report should be presented to the House no later than 26 October 2012.