Government abandoned super tax changes after Labor policy announcement

Government considered superannuation tax changes prior to Budget, Labor, Opposition, FOI request, Treasury documentsLabor has called on the Government to release Treasury advice from before the last Federal Budget which included options to change the superannuation tax concessions.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the Opposition indicated the Government was considering changes to the taxation of superannuation, but these options were abandoned after Labor announced their superannuation policy.

“The FOI request to Treasury reveals that the Expenditure Review Committee – chaired by the Prime Minister – was actively considering changes to superannuation tax concessions right up until Labor announced our plans for fairer superannuation tax concessions,” said a statement by Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen.

The Government has since promised no adverse or unexpected changes to superannuation, no increase to restrictions, and no plans to make changes in a future term.

“The Treasury documents show that the Treasurer received Treasury advice on superannuation tax reforms on four occasions, with the last being on 22 April 2015, the same day Labor announced our plans,” said Mr Bowen.

Though Labor’s FOI request indicated the Treasurer had received four documents from Treasury the documents were not released. Treasury said that “all documents in scope are deliberative in nature containing preliminary examination of possible policy options prepared early in the 2015-16 Budget process for potential consideration by a committee of Cabinet.”

Labor has called on the Treasurer to “urgently release” the Treasury documents.

“If the Abbott Government truly has nothing to hide on plans to super tax concessions then there should be no problems releasing these documents,” said Mr Bowen.

“We know the Treasurer originally wanted a “national conversation” that included considering super tax concessions, before he was rolled by a Prime Minister who decided that political opportunism should trump good policy.”

“Australian business groups are growing frustrated that the Government’s Tax White Paper is increasingly resembling a Tax White Elephant as more and more tax options fall of the table.”

Update: In response the Prime Minister has promised to never increase taxes or restrictions on superannuation.

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