Australians more reluctant to pay tax for basic health, education services

Only 20 per cent of respondents said they supported abolishing negative gearing completely, marginally higher than the 16 per cent who do not believe it should be restricted. Almost 30 per cent of respondents were unsure or unaware of Labor’s policy on the issue.

Support for company tax cuts remains similarly divided. Forty per cent of people supported legislated tax cuts for companies with turnovers of up to $10 million, but 55 per cent opposed that being extended to companies with turnovers of up to $50 million by 2026.

There also remains a perception that high-income earners are not paying enough tax, despite Australia having among the highest marginal tax rates for individuals in the developed world.

The report’s author, Emma Dawson, said the closest alignment in views on this question was between Greens and One Nation voters.

Up to 60 per cent of people said they believed high income earners do not pay enough tax, down from 65 per cent last year. One-fifth said they pay the right amount of tax and 11 per cent said they paid too much.

“A possible explanation for these 2019 findings is that households in the upper-middle income brackets are feeling more financially pressured,” said Ms Dawson.

Labor and the Coalition have promised billions of dollars in tax cuts, with Labor targeting relief mostly at those earning below $110,000, while the Coalition has passed $144 billion in tax cuts across the board.

Unemployment benefits are also set to become a contentious election issue. Labor has pledged to review the rate of unemployment benefits while the Coalition maintains it needs to be kept low to encourage people to find work.

The survey found 51.9 per cent of respondents supported increasing Newstart by at least $75 per week, with 12 per cent believing it should be increased by even more. Nearly 30 per cent of Coalition voters want to see it increased compared to 52 per cent of Labor voters.

Newstart, which is worth $272.90 per week for a single person, has not risen in real terms for more than two decades. Deloitte Access Economics found that an increase of $75 a week would increase consumer spending and create up to 10,000 jobs.

Eryk Bagshaw is an economics correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

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