The cost of the Stage 3 cuts

by Eliza Littleton

The Stage 3 cuts will cut revenue that could be used for much needed services and programs

The Government has often said it cannot currently afford lifting the rate of JobSeeker or increasing childcare subsidies and yet it remains committed to the Stage 3 tax cuts, which will cost much more.

In their first year, the Stage 3 tax cuts will cost the budget a total of $17.7 billion. That is:

  • $5.6bn more than is spent on JobSeeker
  • A third more than the cost of the childcare subsidy
  • $7bn more than the government will spend on public universities
  • Double the cost of Australia’s air force
  • Almost four times the amount the government spends on foreign aid
  • 11 years’ worth of funding for the ABC and SBS
  • 15 years’ worth of funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health

Worse still, 72% of the benefits of the stage 3 income tax cuts ($12.7 bn) go to people earning over $120,000 a year, while only 28% ($5bn) end up in the pockets of low and middle income earners.

The cost of the stage 3 income tax cuts also doesn’t stop in 2024-25. By the start of the next decade they will cost over $31bn a year, and in total they cost $243 billion over the next 10 years.

The pandemic brought into sharp relief how vital better public services and support are. Repealing the stage 3 income tax cuts would provide funds that will undoubtedly do a better job at improving outcomes for disadvantaged groups.

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