May 17, 2019 / 3:10 AM / 2 days ago

Major election policies of Australia's political parties

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 centred around tax cuts, climate change and social programmes, with the opposition Labor party likely to win office from the conservative Liberal-National coalition. [nL3N21S4LL]

Below are party major policies taken mainly from campaign programmes and pre-election announcements:

TAXATION

Liberal-National coalition

- 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.

Labor

- 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.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Liberal-National coalition

- 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 favour of coal-fired power.

- No specific target for how much electricity must be generated by renewables.

Labor

- 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.

HEALTHCARE AND WELFARE

Liberal-National coalition

- 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.

Labor

- 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.

HOUSING

Liberal-National coalition

- 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.

Labor

- 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.

FOREIGN AID

Liberal-National coalition

- 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.

Labor:

- Plans to spend A$1.6 billion more than the coalition over the next four years.

REFUGEES

Liberal-National coalition

- Plans to reverse a law that allows doctors to approve transfers of refugees held on remote Pacific island detention centres to Australia if they need medical care.

- Controversial indefinite detention of refugees who arrive in Australia by boat to remain.

($1 = 1.4465 Australian dollars)

Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Michael Perry

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