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Greens offer olive branch on tax reforms, with conditions

Treasurer Scott Morrison
Treasurer Scott Morrison AFP PHOTO - William West

DESPITE offering Treasurer Scott Morrison a "Plan B" tax reform package focused on cutting tax breaks, the Greens have rejected the prospect of using the funds to pay for tax cuts.

Greens Treasury spokesman Adam Bandt on Tuesday night wrote to Mr Morrison offering an olive branch over tax reform.

While Labor has proposed various measures, it has opposed much of the government's tax agenda that centres on ensuring any changes reduce the overall burden on taxpayers.

Mr Bandt's letter to Mr Morrison effectively offered the government the chance to negotiate on tax reform, centring on cutting negative gearing for new entrants and cutting superannuation contribution tax breaks.

The government has indicated in recent days it is considering both issues as part of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's proposed "tax mix switch", but no specifics have been outlined publicly.

Mr Morrison on Wednesday welcomed the Greens' contribution to "the debate", given the government had "already worked with (them) to introduce new laws to ensure multinationals pay their fair share of tax; laws that Labor opposed".

But he did not respond directly on whether he would meet with the minor party on the issue.

Later in the House, Mr Morrison said that "only those on this side of the House are actively considering how you can reduce the burden on Australians earning in our economy".

The government has also worked with the Greens to pass changes to the debt ceiling and pension reform, as talks with the minor party allow them to circumvent Labor and other crossbenchers' opposition in the Senate.

While Greens leader Richard Di Natale last week met with Mr Turnbull on various issues including tax, Mr Morrison on Wednesday did not commit to actually meeting the minor party to discuss the issue.

But asked whether he would be willing for savings from cutting tax breaks to go towards income or other tax cuts, Senator Di Natale said "No", He said the party would not consider that, given budget cuts across health, education, science and climate change., which the Greens wanted more funding for.

Mr Turnbull on Sunday effectively ruled out increasing the GST to fund income taxes, after backbench criticism on the proposal.

Topics:  adam bandt politics scott morrison tax


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