Budget 2008 delivering for Pacific communities

Saturday 24 May 2008, 3:13PM
By Hon Luamanuvao Winnie Laban
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Budget 2008 is investing in a strong future for our Pacific communities, Pacific Island Affairs Minister Luamanuvao Winnie Laban said today.

"Pacific peoples have made great advances under the Labour government with unemployment reducing from 12.2 per cent in December 1999 to 4.7 per cent in December 2007, and education and income levels improving.

"Tax cuts and boosts to Working for Families Tax Credits announced in the Budget will help many of our hardworking Pacific families young and old to meet the pressure from increased costs as a result of economic uncertainty globally.

"This will result in more money in the pockets of Pacific people," Laban said.

Pacific people on lower incomes and in part time work will benefit from the lowering of the bottom tax rate. Those on middle and higher incomes will be able to earn more before going into higher tax brackets. For individuals on full-time incomes, tax cuts from 1 October will range between $620 and $1460 a year, or approximately $12 to $28 a week.

"A Pacific family where the husband earns $45,000 per annum, the wife earns $25,000 per annum and they have four children aged 8, 10, 14 and 16 years old, will receive an additional $50 per week, or $2590 per year with tax cuts and Working for Families. Their superannuitant grandparents will have an increase of $45.88 each fortnight.

"Our Pacific elderly who are SuperGold card holders will also benefit from free off-peak travel on public transport and an increase in the subsidy for hearing aids. And the increased eligibility of student allowances, more scholarships and more loan support is an investment in the knowledge and skills of our Pacific people," Laban said.

"Budget 2008 is providing tax relief with continued investment in public services like better hospitals, modern classrooms, cheaper doctor's visits, affordable and healthy housing, community services, and upskilling our workforce.

"There is so much good news for our people in Budget 2008. I am proud to be part of a Labour government ensuring our Pacific peoples have a strong sustainable future," Laban said.