By Tanya Plibersek

27 February 2024





Ms PLIBERSEK (Sydney—Minister for the Environment and Water) (16:20): I'm rising today to speak about the tax cuts in the electorate of Sydney, but I want to thank the member for Parkes for making those comments. I think there's a lot of agreement on this side with the words that he said.

I'm very pleased to talk about our tax cuts and what they mean for the people of Australia and, in particular, my electorate. I know that my constituents are feeling the bite of cost-of-living pressures, particularly when it comes to housing. My electorate has some of the highest rents in the country, and that's why I'm very proud to be part of a government that has invested in housing. We've invested billions of dollars in the Housing Affordability Fund and we're trying to get 'help to buy' through the parliament at the moment, and it would be great if the Greens and Liberals didn't team up to block it. But right now, one thing we can do is back the bigger tax cuts that our side of parliament is proposing.

In my electorate, this would put more money in the pockets of more people at a time when they're doing it tough. Every working Australian would receive a tax cut from 1 July. That's 13.6 million people. In my electorate, what that means is that 112,000 people would receive an average tax cut of $1,915; 86,000 taxpayers would receive a bigger tax cut than they would have under the proposal of the previous government, and 76 per cent of all taxpayers in my electorate would receive a bigger tax cut than they would have received from Scott Morrison's proposal. We want people to earn more. We want them to keep more of what they earn, after a decade of wage stagnation.

And that's the other bit of good news that I'm delighted to share with this place: seeing real wages growing for the first time through the largest pay increases in 14 years in the most recent wage price index, is so great. Real wages growth is back. We on this side always back higher minimum wages for Australian workers. We want to see those flow through to awards. We were prepared to back that 15 per cent pay increase for the aged-care sector. And, of course, 90 per cent of those aged-care workers are women. I also really want to say how pleased I am to see the ABS figures on the gender pay gap. The gender pay gap has dropped to 12 per cent, the lowest level on record. I'm very proud of the contribution that our changes to industrial relations laws have made, including things like the Workplace Gender Equality Agency reports into the pay gap into the private sector. Having large Australian companies report their gender pay gap will have an impact over time.

We're getting on with it. We're helping people with the cost of living through tax cuts, through housing and through wages.