Unions fear the $5 billion company tax cut promised by the Coalition today will come at the expense of workers through an increased GST or savage cuts to services, the ACTU said today.
"The Coalition's plan for the economy seems to begin and end with boosting the profits of Australian business, whether by making it easier for them to cut workers' pay and conditions, or with lower taxes" said ACTU President Ged Kearney.
"This is another $5 billion on top of the $70 billion in cuts to public services the Coalition already has to find to fund its promises.
"We cannot support a $5 billion company tax cut paid for by either higher income or consumption taxes on workers or savage cuts to services.
"Where is this $5 billion going to come from?
"We know the Business Council of Australia and others want a higher GST and to apply it to health, education and fresh food. This would be particularly unfair to low and middle income families who have real cost of living pressures.
"At the same time, senior Liberals are revolting against the Paid Parental Leave scheme this tax cut is supposed to offset, urging it to be dumped. So we could end up with a company tax cut and no paid parental leave.
"Unions do not oppose cutting company tax, but it should be paid for by 'broadening the base' of the tax – by reducing generous concessions enjoyed by business, and by dealing with some of the base erosion and profit shifting issues that are causing such international concern.
"Last year, we supported a company tax cut on this basis in the Business Tax Working Group.
"Business wanted a tax cut but refused to contemplate changes to concessions and distortions – they wanted to have their cake and eat it."
Ms Kearney said Australia's current corporate tax rate was not uncompetitive, and was lower than the weighted OECD average.
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