Xenophon strikes deal to pass company tax cuts

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The Turnbull government has done a deal with the Nick Xenophon Team to pass its company tax cuts for businesses with an annual turnover of up to $50 million.

After 11th hour negotiations and an extra day of parliamentary sittings in Canberra, the Turnbull government has managed to get the centrepiece of its 2016 budget – company tax cuts – over the line.

It’s done a deal with South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon to get the numbers to lower the company tax rate from 30 per cent to 25 per cent over the next 10 years for businesses with an annual turnover of up to $50m.

But it has come at a cost.

In exchange for the Nick Xenophon Team’s support, Senator Xenophon has listed a number of demands including: a review of power affordability and security; a review of gas retention policies; an investigation into a potential gas pipeline between the Northern Territory and South Australia; one-off payments for welfare recipients to help with the power bills ($75 for singles, $125 for couples); and a Commonwealth concession loan of up to $110m to speed up the construction of a solar thermal plant in Port Augusta.

Senator Xenophon was originally pushing for the company tax cuts to be restricted to businesses with an annual turnover of up to $10m and was also demanding an emissions intensity scheme.

In parliament, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann thanked all the senators who helped the government pass its agenda.

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“Many businesses across Australia and their employees will benefit from the increased investment, the increased job security and the increased opportunity for more jobs and higher wages that will come with legislating this part of our plan today,” Senator Cormann said.

Labor claims the extra day of debate cost taxpayers an estimated $1m.

“This is a massive waste of time and taxpayer money. The government should get on with its day job of looking after Australians. Instead, they are making incompetence a fine art,” Opposition Leader Bill Shorten told reporters in Canberra.

The measures still need to be passed in the lower house when it returns on Budget Day in May.

 

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