Independent Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie has sent a strong message to the Liberal Party ahead of tax cut negotiations: get rid of Tasmania's public housing debt.
In a video message, Ms Lambie included ridding Tasmania of its $157 million public housing debt among her priorities when entering negotiations for her vote in the Senate.
"I want that public housing debt removed, that's my first step," Senator Lambie said in the video.
"This isn't about doing deals, this is about doing the moral, right thing to do."
In other news:
The Senate is currently voting on income tax cuts, with Senator Lambie controlling a key vote on the matter.
Federal Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said in a statement that the Morrison Government was "always happy to engage with senators in relation to issues of concern to them and their constituents".
"We will be putting our plan for lower income taxes to the Senate tomorrow [July 4]," he said.
Senator Lambie said she was "sick and tired" of the state government paying $15 million of the $30 million in Commonwealth funding straight back to the government to clear the state's housing debt.
"If we continue paying this debt off the way we are doing, it's going to be another 23 years that every year for the next 23 years we're going to be giving half of that money straight back to the federal government," she said.
Tasmanians know a thing or two about having to hand back half of every dollar to the Fed Govt to cover our $157 million social housing debt. So before we talk tax relief for rich people let's talk about debt relief for Tassie. #auspolpic.twitter.com/Y3MqCF73Kq— Jacqui Lambie (@JacquiLambie) July 3, 2019
State Housing Minister Roger Jaensch is currently engaged in talks with federal Housing Minister Michael Sukkar to clear Tasmania of its $157 million housing debt.
Mr Sukkar, however, has noted that should the federal government clear Tasmania of its debt, then other states could make similar requests.
Senator Lambie noted that finding homes for the nearly 3000 Tasmanians on the public waiting list was another important consideration in her negotiations on tax cuts.
"They need a roof over their heads - they shouldn't be living in their cars and they shouldn't be living in tents," she said.
"I'm sick of and tired of seeing the families in those rural and regional areas who are doing the toughest of all continually falling through the cracks, it has to stop."
Senator Lambie said it was "frightening" that those on age pensions and Newstart would not receive a tax cut. The bill would have $1000 returned to taxpayers earning up to $90,000 a year.
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