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Economy - Intergenerational Equity and Young People


Ms SPENDER (Wentworth) (14:19): My question is to the Treasurer. Young people in Australia are going backwards. In the last decade or so, a family headed by somebody over 65 saw their wealth increase by 50 per cent, but the wealth of households headed by someone under 35 has barely moved. This can't have been the intention of government policy, and it's not the fault of older Australians, but it has created an intergenerational tragedy. Whilst I acknowledge the positive steps the government has taken to support young people, I don't think they're sufficient to close the wealth gap between younger and older Australians, now or into the future. Does the Treasurer share my concerns?

Dr CHALMERS (RankinTreasurer) (14:20): Thanks to the member for Wentworth for her question. I think it's fair to say there is always more work to make sure that we are delivering the kind of intergenerational fairness which is at the very core of the government's view of the world. I want to thank the member for Wentworth for her genuine and informed interest in an area of particular focus for the government and for her passion of mind, certainly, and I want to thank her for the engagement when it comes to these really important intergenerational issues.

Our mission as a government is to try and modernise the economy and maximise our advantages so that we can position our people as the major beneficiaries of change, rather than as victims of change, in our economy and our society. That's really the motivation behind a whole raft of policies in the various portfolios represented along the front here. It's certainly the motivation behind the Intergenerational report and the focus on the five big intergenerational challenges and chances. It's certainly the focus of our human capital agenda, which we laid out collectively in our employment white paper not that long ago. It's behind our efforts to get the budget in much better nick so that future generations aren't carrying a disproportionate burden when it comes to repaying the trillion dollars in Liberal debt that we were left to deal with.

It's the motivation behind our housing agenda to try and build more homes. It's the motivation behind the energy transformation, which I know the member shares a deep and abiding interest in. It's also the motivation behind some of the newer things that we are trying in our portfolios—and I'm working closely with the minister here—when it comes to trying to break the cycle of intergenerational disadvantage, particularly in communities like the one that sends me to this place to work on their behalf. The intergenerational issues are also a big motivating force behind our tax reform agenda. Be it the superannuation tax concessions changes that we're proposing, getting a fairer return via the PRRT for our resources, multinational tax reform, tax breaks for energy efficiency, tax breaks for EVs or tax breaks for more build-to-rent properties, there is an intergenerational element to this which I think is really important.

To finish with where I think the honourable member's question comes from, it's a big motivation behind the tax changes that we proposed this week and seek to legislate in this place. I do understand that, even after these important changes, it will always require the ongoing interest and effort from governments like ours to deal with some of these intergenerational challenges. But I also want to point out that our tax changes are much better for young people than the old stage 3 tax cuts that they replaced were. That's for 90 per cent of people under 35—

Mr Albanese: And 98 per cent.

Dr CHALMERS: and 98 per cent of the younger cohort, as the PM reminds me. It's better for bracket creep, better for workforce incentives and better for our economy. (Time expired)

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