Is the budget gendered? The tax cut sure is, think-tank argues

By Matthew Elmas

Thursday October 8, 2020

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The Morrison government’s fast-tracked income tax cuts will disproportionately advantage men over women as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new Australia Institute analysis.

The progressive think-tank says men will receive three in every five dollars of the tax benefit from the cut, which is currently making its way through parliament and will be implemented soon after.

Pitched as a key spending measure in the 2020-21 budget, the income threshold at which the 37% tax rate applies will be lifted from $90,000 to $120,000 under the plan.

The Low and Middle Income Tax Offset will also be retained for an additional 12 months.

But the Australia Institute Argues 60% of the benefit in 2020-21 will go to men, rising to 69% in 2021-22.

Matt Grundnoff, a senior economist at the think tank, said this was because men earn disproportionately higher incomes in Australia.

“If you give rich Australians a tax cut, the majority of the benefit will flow directly to men over women,”Grudnoff said in a statement.

“Women have been hit the hardest by the COVID recession, in terms of economic impact and job losses, but the Government has designed its tax changes in a way that will benefit men by a factor of more than two to one from next year onwards.”

The government has come under criticism over the gendered nature of its budget plan in recent days, with separate research finding much of fiscal stimulus handed out to the private sector so far has gone to male-dominated industries such as construction.

The government has hit back at these suggestions, with Social Services minister Anne Ruston labeling criticisms as “misreporting” in an interview with the ABC on Thursday morning.

“Every single measure in the budget is available for women,” the minister said.

“To suggest the budget doesn’t focus on women, I think, is wrong.”

A Women’s Economic Security statement that accompanied the budget on Tuesday contained $240 million in programs.

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