Tariff reform no match for Labor's tax & red tape tsunami

Tuesday, 12 March 2024

While any reduction in taxes and cost-of-living relief is welcome, the benefits to consumers will barely touch the sides of the pain Australian households are feeling because of Labor’s economic mismanagement.

Under the Albanese Labor government, Australians have experienced a collapse in their living standards, with no plan to reverse it.

Labor says this policy will reduce compliance costs for businesses and ease the cost of living for Australian families by around $120 million over the next four years. To put this in perspective, this would be the equivalent of just $1.10 per person per annum.

Australia is in an entrenched GDP per capita recession, a consumer confidence recession, and we are experiencing the slowest two quarters of consecutive GDP growth in almost 18 years outside of the pandemic.

Labor has let inflation stay too high for too long, and is putting in place policies that make inflation and productivity worse:

  • Poorly managed migration that is making rents and housing unaffordable 
  • Energy market interventions that aren’t bringing down prices and costing billions in taxpayers money 
  • Bad workplace laws that will remove flexibility for workers, raise prices, and make it harder for young Australians to get a job 
  • Broken promises on taxes - whether it’s franking credits, retirement savings, personal income tax, or Australian companies - Labor are taking more money out of Australians’ pockets at a time they need it most; and 
  • Billions of wasteful spending – Labor has spent another $209 billion since the election, making prices and interest rates higher for longer.

Labor inherited a strong economy from the Coalition, but in two years we have seen that evaporate.

Shadow Treasurer Angus Taylor said if the government was serious about productivity and reducing red tape, they would change course on their industrial relations and energy policy agenda.

“Under Labor we are seeing more laws, more regulations, and more taxes at a time the economy is grinding to a halt.

“They are yet to produce any meaningful policies to address this because this Treasurer is a Doctor of Spin, not a Doctor of Economics.

“While tariff simplification and a regulatory road map are useful, they’ll only work as part of a larger plan to bring down inflation and boost productivity.

“But as it stands, these policies will barely touch the sides of the cost of living crisis.

“This reduction pales in comparison with the tariff reductions delivered by the former Coalition government’s free trade agreements, that ensured that 90 per cent of goods imported into Australia now face no or zero tariffs.

“Labor has no plan to grow the economy, only to entrench inflation, slow growth, and drive up costs for businesses and households.

“Australian consumers pay the price for confusing, complex laws every day, whether it be on their bills or when dealing with big business bureaucracies.

“This is just another example of a government panicking to find solutions to a cost of living crisis they have ignored for 18 months. This is another example of a Treasurer who is completely out of touch.”