SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia’s political parties are in the final stages of campaigning ahead of a general election on Saturday.
Polls indicate a close result following a campaign centered around tax cuts, climate change and social programs, with the opposition Labor party likely to win office from the conservative Liberal-National coalition.
Below are party major policies taken mainly from campaign programs and pre-election announcements:
** Proposed total tax cuts of A$158 billion ($109 billion)over the period to 2029/30, in addition to A$144 billion in tax cuts passed by parliament last year. Most of the new tax cuts would take effect after 2022, when the next election is due.
** Most of the early personal income tax cuts would benefit low and middle-income earners. Tax rebate for middle-income earners to double in current financial year. Subsequent tax concessions would benefit wealthier Australians.
** Top threshold for the 19 percent tax bracket rises to A$45,000 in 2022/23 from A$41,000 currently. From 2024/25, the 32.5 percent marginal tax rate would be reduced to 30 percent, and apply to income between A$45,000 and A$200,000.
** Will match the coalition’s planned tax cuts for workers earning between A$48,000-A$126,000 a year, but also pledged a bigger rebate for people earning less than A$45,000.
** No changes to current tax brackets. Unspecified tax cuts when tax receipts hit 24.3 percent of GDP.
** To remove concessions used primarily by older Australians to obtain tax rebates for dividends paid out from after-tax corporate profit.
** Committed to the Paris Accord that requires member states to reduce emissions by 26% from 2005 levels, but some in the coalition question the need for that and many remain staunchly in favor of coal-fired power.
** No specific target for how much electricity must be generated by renewables.
** Plans to go further than the Paris agreement, aiming to cut carbon emissions by 45% from 2005 levels by 2030 and net zero pollution by 2050.
** Aims for 50% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
** Proposed to spend more than A$80 billion on the public healthcare system in 2019/20.
** Access to cheaper medicines for cancer patients.
** Proposed A$725 million investment in residential care for elderly Australians.
** Promises to outspend coalition on healthcare, including more than A$2 billion to expand free cancer treatment.
** Increase financial rebate given to Australians when they pay to see a doctor. Promises A$1,000 of free dental work over a two year period for pensioners.
** To increase minimum wage, but has not given specific details. Also pledges to raise pay for people who work on weekends and public holidays.
** Proposes A$500 million to underwrite home loan deposits for 10,000 first-home buyers, who do not have a 20% deposit that most banks require.
** Promised to match coalition’s first-home buyer policy.
** To remove tax concessions that allow investors to offset financial losses from investment properties against their incomes.
** The coalition in April trimmed foreign aid from its 2019/20 budget to be worth A$4.04 billion.
** It will be remain largely unchanged until 2023.
** Promises to direct much of the aid budget to the Pacific amid rising competition for influence from China.
** Plans to spend A$1.6 billion more than the coalition over the next four years.
** Plans to reverse a law that allows doctors to approve transfers of refugees held on remote Pacific island detention centers to Australia if they need medical care.
** Controversial indefinite detention of refugees who arrive in Australia by boat to remain.
Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Michael Perry