PM: People who earn $180k aren’t ‘rich’
Scott Morrison has defended tax cuts for high income earners, declaring FIFO miners in Queensland earning $180,000 are not rich and should not be regarded as in the same class as "merchant bankers" in Sydney.
The Prime Minister, who earns over $500,000-a-year was asked to nominate "what's rich?" during a press conference in Queensland today after he was asked to comment on tax cuts for high income earners that come into force in 2024.
It follows Labor leader Anthony Albanese hinting that he could scrap the tax cuts for the rich if he wins the next election.
"I don't know what the Labor Party thinks a high income is, but I can tell you we're standing here in Rockhampton and I remember when Bill Shorten went to the last election, he went up to Gladstone and he talked to people up there and he wouldn't tell them the truth," Mr Morrison said today.
"And, you know, he was talking about people who work in the heavy industry sectors of this country. It's hard work, you're away from your families. It's fly in and it's fly out. And you do earn a bit more when you're doing that.
"But I tell you what, you put a bit of it away, too. And I don't think they should be penalised and treated like they're some merchant banker in Sydney. They're not, they're hardworking people working out on mines and difficult parts of the country. I think they deserve a tax cut."
Mr Morrison accused Labor of trying to "pull the rug'' out from under families promised the tax cut.
"I took it to the last election. Australians backed me on it and we legislated in the Parliament,'' the Prime Minister said.
"Now, the Labor Party wants to pull the rug from under that. There's no surprise in that. If you can't work out 18 months after an election or thereabouts that they were dud policies, you never will, and you'll never be able to believe anything they say on taxes going forward."
Australian National University associate professor Ben Phillips told news.com.au that there was no doubt that any worker earning $180,000 was "doing pretty well."
"The average income for a worker is around $85,000. The median would be more like $60,000. If you're earning $180,000 you're in the top 4 per cent of incomes or thereabouts.
"Household income is a little different. It's more around $100,000 on average but the median would be lower."
Labor leader Anthony Albanese hinted on Monday night that he may repeal these tax cuts if he wins the next election.
But asked to clarify with a "yes or a no" if an income of $180,000 is considered high-income, Mr Albanese said today some families would still struggle on that amount.
"Well, quite clearly, in terms of if it's a family income, many people on that amount will be struggling with a mortgage, with the bills they have to pay,'' he said.
"The fact is that I defined myself as being high-income. I'm about opportunity. I'm about opportunity. I'm here with a policy that's been criticised for helping people on $180,000. I make no apologies for the fact that we're doing that with this proposal."
Labor's new childcare policy would deliver windfall games to high income families that in some cases could be equal to the $11,000-a-year tax cuts for families with a combined income over $300,000.
That's because those families currently receive no child care assistance of any kind and are asked to pay their own way.
Asked if he had any future plans to offer parents relief on childcare fees, Mr Morrison noted that the Coalition was offering these families tax cuts.
"Parents pay tax and all parents get tax cuts. It's not just workers that get a tax cut,'' the PM said.
"It's workers' families who get tax cuts to ensure that they can deal with not just cost pressures in the areas you've mentioned, but in so many other areas. It's important to ensure that Australians keep more of what they earn."
"Childcare is an important need that Australian families have. We know that. That's why we invest $9.2 billion."
Originally published as PM: People who earn $180k aren't 'rich'