Aussie govt accelerates tax cuts to sweeten polls

A general view of the Sydney skyline. Accelerating tax cuts is widely seen as an attempt to boost the government's appeal ahead of the next election.
A general view of the Sydney skyline. Accelerating tax cuts is widely seen as an attempt to boost the government's appeal ahead of the next election.PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY • Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said yesterday that his government will bring forward proposed tax cuts for small businesses by five years, as his coalition seeks to regain voter support ahead of an election next year.

Australian lawmakers earlier this year passed legislation that would cut taxes for businesses with a turnover of less than A$50 million (S$49 million) to 25 per cent, down from 27.5 per cent, from 2026.

But after dumping a widely unpopular plan to cut all corporate taxes by 2.5 per cent, Mr Morrison said his government will accelerate its plan. "This change will help to ensure Australian businesses are competitive, to protect our economy and jobs," he said in an e-mailed statement.

The change will require approval from Parliament, where his government lacks a majority. Several independent lawmakers have said they will back the move.

Accelerating tax cuts is widely seen as a bid to boost the government's appeal ahead of the next election. Mr Morrison must call an election by next May, though political polls indicate the government is on course for a heavy election defeat.

He also faces a critical by-election this month to replace former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, who resigned from Parliament after losing the leadership in a party-room ballot in August. Should the government lose the affluent electorate of Wentworth, Mr Morrison would have to strike a new deal with the independents to continue in a minority government.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 12, 2018, with the headline 'Aussie govt accelerates tax cuts to sweeten polls'. Print Edition | Subscribe