What is the Greens’ Billionaires’ Tax?

The Parliamentary Budget Office runs costings sought by members of parliament, and one member’s name appears more than any other these past 18 months. Since becoming leader of the Greens in February 2020, the Federal Member for Melbourne, Adam Bandt, has shown interest in a range of taxes on the super-rich.

What is the Billionaires’ Tax?

The most interesting proposal is the billionaires tax, costings for which were released in April. The tax proposes a 6% annual levy on the wealth of any individual over A$1 billion.

According to the Budget Office, the proposal is forecast to increase budget revenue by $11.3 billion a year. This is about 2% of total federal government revenue.

Bandt’s proposal is that the tax is chargeable on wealth of all Australian tax residents, wherever it is held, and would include assets held by billionaires’ children. It would involve a $40m spend on the ATO creating a “national wealth register.”

All the same, the Budget Office also projected “a very high degree of uncertainty” in light of tax evasion strategies. Its $11 billion figure assumes only a 50% enforcement rate, given “a very significant behavioural response” from the wealthy.

Adam Bandt campaigning in Melbourne.

Mining Super-Profits Tax

More feasible is Bandt’s interest in bringing back Kevin Rudd’s mineral resources super-profits tax. Bandt sought costings on the government revenue lost by not implementing Rudd’s tax in the years since 2012 ($70 billion total), and also enquired into implementing a new super-profits tax.

The Greens’ leader proposes a new tax for which, unlike the Rudd measure, state royalties are not deductible. According to the Budget Office, the tax would pull in an additional $20.1 billion annually.

Needless to say, the chance of the Greens winning government at the upcoming federal election is nil. Nonetheless, Bandt’s requests suggest the Greens intend to campaign to drive Labor to the economic left in the coming months.

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