Budget's big bank levy could open the door for fintech lenders
September 20 2017, 08:07 | Alonzo Simpson
Labor has tried to stymie the federal government's push to slash the tax rate for Australia's biggest businesses, saying the country can not afford it.
The Turnbull Government announced the end of the troublesome Medicare rebate freeze which has been forcing up the cost of GP visits and threatening the spread of bulk billing.
As well as taxing the big five banks, Mr Morrison's 2017 budget unveiled a rise in the Medicare levy to 2.5 per cent from July 2019, raising $7.8 billion over two years.
And in recognition of the pounding on health policy it received at the election past year, it wants to legislate a Medicare Guarantee Bill with a Medicare Guaranteed Fund to cover all expenses of the scheme.
"We've all heard the media speculation this week that Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison may make some small and belated attempt to begin to fix the damage of the 2014/15 slash and burn Abbott-Hockey Budget, but the only outcome acceptable to Queenslanders will be full restoration of funding", the Minister said.
Mr Morrison said: "What the commission will be doing will be keeping an eye on them to make sure they don't lie to their customers about this".
The budget has hit the big banks with a $6.2 billion tax, which UBS analyst Jonathan Mott said could be passed on to customers.
Housing investors will have to pay more.
However, economists have said such measures would help only at the margin, given the government's reluctance to tweak a tax treatment on property massively favored by the wealthy known as 'negative gearing'.
Any bank that breaches the misconduct rules will face penalties of up to $200 million for big banks and $50 million for smaller banks.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said he wouldn't be drawn into a debate on "semantics".
Mr Morrison finally drew a line through $13 million of "zombie measures" from the 2014 budget that have failed to pass through parliament, but in doing so needed to find revenue from other sources to plug the gap.
The Treasurer allocated $75 billion to infrastructure, with transport receiving the lion's share of about $70 billion in funding over the next 10 years.
Australia will soon owe markets more than half a trillion dollars in gross debt.
"This budget is about making the right choices to secure those better days ahead", Mr Morrison said.
"The ATO has already raised $2.9 billion in tax liabilities this year against a group of just seven large multinational companies, and expects to raise more than $4 billion in total this financial year from large public companies and multinationals", he said.
Mr Morrison said the National Museum of Australia would also receive $8.9 million to establish a Cultural and Corporate Shared Services Centre. Terribly, this has meant some families have even broken apart.
"And I believe Australians want us to fill that gap".
Straight off the mark she asked the tough questions, starting with the big one on many people's lips - "Could you be the first Liberal Treasurer in history to deliver a Labor budget?"
About $2.9 billion was allocated to build Western Sydney, with an additional $1.5 billion in funding and a $2 billion concessional loan committed to WestConnex.
"The Treasurer has jettisoned decades of conservative fiscal orthodoxy around deficits and, particularly, debt", said business commentator Ian Verrender on the ABC News website.
A Medicare Guarantee Fund will be established to pay for all expenses of the Medicare Benefits Schedule and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).