Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan has stood by the Government’s commitment to lift the superannuation guarantee by three percentage points to 12% by 2020, adding the coming budget was about building community.
In a speech this morning, Swan said Labor’s “historic” mining and carbon taxes were motivated by a “determination to grow together not apart.”
“A mining tax that ensures the massive profits coming from minerals we all own get used to strengthen our whole economy, not just the personal fortunes of the wealthy few,” he said.
“A boost to the superannuation savings of 8.4 million Australians, including 3.6 million low income Australians who are set to benefit from our low income superannuation contribution, funded by the mining tax.”
“A carbon price that applies to our 500 largest polluters, with a household compensation package that triples the tax-free threshold, and lifts pensions and allowances, to ensure that low income earners get the help they need to adjust to a clean energy future.”
“A strong economy and a strong community go hand in hand. This is my mantra as I put together my fifth Budget.”
The mining tax has attracted heat lately, with Coalition state governments flagging support for mining magnate Clive Palmer’s potential legal challenge to it and mining companies tipping it will not be the cash cow the Government has claimed.
Meanwhile, unions and business groups have been butting heads over the gradual increase in the super levy from 9%; with the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry calling for guarantees the lift will be incorporated into wage discussions.
Swan’s speech to the Australian Council of Social Services national conference follows a business breakfast in which he forecast savage cuts to help the Government meet its promise to return the budget to surplus in 2012-13.
Achieving this promise would be a stark turnaround from last year’s budget deficit of $37.1 billion, particularly with commodity prices and company profits off the boil.
Swan said in the speech that the Government would cut programs and toughen tax laws to compensate for dramatic budget revenue drops, particularly lower-than-expected company tax levels, and a reduced tax take to GDP ratio.
Despite the tough budget warnings, Swan told the ACOSS conference that the Government would seek to help “those that need it most, and to make room for our big, forward-looking reforms”, highlighting welfare, reform for elderly and disabled care, schools, and the national disability insurance scheme as key priorities.