26,000 New Englanders in jeopardy

Cate Wood

Cate Wood

A BILL which could be passed in the federal senate next week   would badly affect more workers in the New England electorate than in other parts of Australia.

About 26,000 workers – or 44 per cent of the workforce – in the New England electorate would lose the annual $500 low-income super contribution rebate (LISC).

It would affect 53.5 per cent of female employees and would come at an annual cost to our electorate of $7 million, Women in Super chair Cate Wood said.

“The average impact across the country is estimated to be 33 per cent of employees and just under 50 per cent of female employees – so you can see that the impact in New England is greater,” Ms Wood said.

She said the Minerals Resource Rent Tax Repeal and Other Measures Bill 2013 (MRRT) was set to be reintroduced into the senate and debated this week, with a vote likely next week.

Women in Super has been joined by many other Australian superannuation funds in condemning the bill.

“All of these organisations joined Women in Super in making submissions and appearing before the Senate committee considering the repeal of the MRRT,” Ms Wood said.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions also had it “high on the agenda”, she said.

In late June, Women in Super, with many other signatories including community organisations, wrote a letter to Clive Palmer and his Palmer United Party – which has three new senators in the new senate, sworn in on Monday.

Mr Palmer said on Monday that while he was happy to pass certain aspects of the bill, he did not support certain parts of it including abolishing the LISC.

Ms Wood said she saw the new make-up of the senate including 13 first-time senators as a brilliant opportunity to break the Labor/Greens strangehold within the senate.

“We sent (the letter) to (Mr Palmer) because, up until now, Labor, combined with the Greens, have defeated the Mining Tax Repeal Bill – but with the new senate coming in, the numbers change so the Liberal/National coalition needs six other senators besides themselves to get the vote through,” she said.

Ms Wood said more than 26,000 people, including 13,000 in the past two weeks, had written to their local parliamentarian about LISC.

LISC was introduced in 2012 to make the tax treatment of super more equitable for low-income workers. A total of 3.6 million  Australians, 30 per cent of the workforce, may benefit from the measure.

Australian workers who currently earn up to $37,000 per year get a tax rebate from the LISC.

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