Show us the cash

By MURRAY SIMPSON and AAP

THE prospect of waiting a year for promised tax cuts has started to alarm Tweed workers and businesses.

But Richmond MP Justine Elliot yesterday defended federal Labor tactics which could scuttle the government's tax cut plans which would put an average of $6 a week in many Tweed pay packets from July 1.

Tweed Heads chamber of commerce president and local Liberal Party chief John Murray yesterday called for commonsense to prevail.

"We have been doing it tough this year and the tax cuts would come as a welcome relief," Mr Murray said.

His comments follow a statement by the Tax Commissioner Michael Carmody that tax cuts contained in the federal budget may be delayed up to a year if Labor does not give assurances it won't block the new tax schedules.

"I hope commonsense prevails," said Mr Murray.

"We don't have a high disposable income on the Tweed and any form of tax break comes as a welcome relief.

"It's always a struggle for small and medium-sized businesses competing with Queensland where the cost of doing business is cheaper. So we need every assistance we can get."

But Ms Elliot denied Austra-lian workers were being dudded by the opposition tactics.

"Far from it," she said.

"We have an alternative scheme to offer a tax break of $12 per week, not $6 as offered in the budget.

"What's more it will be far more equitably distributed, not skewered to the top end of town like the Coalition plan."

Ms Elliot said Labor had identified more than 10,000 families living in the Tweed earning less than $500 a week.

"Our plan will go a long way to to providing much needed relief. All we're seeking is an opportunity to debate Labor's alternative," she said.

"We don't want to be railroaded into the Howard plan by the Tax Commissioner or anyone else."

In Canberra the federal opposition fended off criticism of its stance on tax cuts, blaming the Australian Tax Office and the government for confusion over the budget proposals.

Labor treasury spokesman Wayne Swan claimed it was wrong to suggest workers would face delays of up to 12 months in getting their tax cuts because of Labor's opposition to them.

Mr Swan said the situation had been created by the tax schedules being deliberately introduced early into the parliament.

"In past years the tax schedules have not been gazetted until late in June," he said.

Mr Swan said Labor was standing by its position to debate the government's tax cuts and those it has proposed which would cut taxes for average income earners by $12 a week.

"Labor has said all along that we will fight for a fairer deal for the seven million hard working low and middle income earners in this country," he said.



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