Talking tax cuts
The stoush in the Parliament last week was not a fight about whether people deserve an income tax cut. Rather, it was about when they will get one and whether they were big enough for those who need them most.
Too many Australian workers will not receive any meaningful benefit from the tax package that was legislated until 2022, three years away. Labor wanted the Government to bring these 2022 cuts forward so that people receive the tax break earlier.
We argued this not just because people need the tax cut but also because a very weak economy is desperately in need of the additional consumer spending the tax break would have provided.
The other argument was about the tax cuts the Government's package will deliver in five years' time. Labor wanted more time to have a debate about their fairness - because they are weighted in favour of high income earners - and their affordability if the economy continues to deteriorate.
When the economy goes bad Government revenues fall and expenses rise. Labor's fear is that if the economy continues to decline there will be less money for health, education, aged care, child care and infrastructure including roads.
Given five years is such a long way off it made sense to decouple the stage 3 cuts (five years away), to bring forward and pass stage 2 (three years away) and pass stage 1 which will provide immediate tax relief. But the Government refused to do so.
As a result, Labor allowed the whole package to pass because to do otherwise would have denied workers the stage 1, tax cuts which will range from $255 a year for someone earning $37,000 or less annually and a $1,085 tax cut for someone on between $48,000 and $90,000.
So there was no debate about whether the parliament should pass tax cuts. It was all about making them meaningful and worthwhile.
This week is NAIDOC week, a time we celebrate the culture of our Indigenous Australians, reflect on past wrongs and commit ourselves to future equality of opportunity.
I began the week at a flag raising ceremony in Muswellbrook which has organised by the Wanaruah NAIDOC Committee.
The ceremonies and events continue all across Australia and Cessnock Library has a display worth experiencing. I pay my respects to all local Indigenous people and pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging.
Beveridge's Menswear closing down
It's hard to believe Beveridge's Menswear will soon no longer be part of the Vincent Street landscape after 42 years of successful trading. I'm just old enough to remember "Lett's" where it all began for Les 42 years ago.
There would be few Cessnock residents who have not at some time visited Beveridge's Menswear of encountered Les in one of his many community roles.
A Cessnock citizen of the year, he is a true local legend. I wish him many years of good health and happiness in retirement.