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Decision to defer welcome, but government must still scrap the cap

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) welcomes the federal government’s decision to defer the introduction of a $2,000 cap on tax deductions for self-education until July 2015.

“The announcement last week by the Treasurer shows that the Government is starting to listen to the growing chorus of industry bodies, professional associations and individuals who are calling for the cap to be scrapped,” says the GBCA’s Chief Operating Officer, Robin Mellon.

“We hope that the decision to defer is the first positive step towards abandoning the policy.”

The GBCA argues that a tax on learning would hinder the adoption of green skills across Australia’s property and construction industry.

“A broad-based cap on self-education would be a barrier for professionals seeking the ongoing training and development they need to maintain Australia’s world-leading capabilities in sustainable building and development. People from professional services to trades recognise that sustainability principles and green skills must be integrated into industry at every level,” Mr Mellon adds.

“The property and construction sector is responsible for 11.5 per cent of Australia’s gross domestic product (GDP) and our industry relies on the ongoing professional development of its workforce to remain productive, innovative and competitive.

“Any policy that creates barriers or puts ongoing education and training out of the financial reach of Australian workers will undermine the competitiveness and productivity of our industries and economy.”

The GBCA will continue to stand in solidarity with other industry associations and professional bodies in advocating for government to abandon the self-education tax cap policy. 

“Following the positive first step of deferment, we call on the federal government to engage in further consultation with the community, and ultimately to ‘scrap the cap’,” Mr Mellon concludes.