Advocacy group launches lobbying bid for LAFHA transition

Corporate pressure group Consult Australia is to launch a last ditch bid to include those from overseas in the transition period for the axing of the Living Away From Home Allowance tax break.

The perk – which allows those claiming LAFHA a discount against tax based on their living costs – ends on July 1. However, the government has granted a two year transition to those who have homes in Australia.

The impact of the end of the benefit is particularly acute for the media and marketing industry, which employs a disproportionately large number of overseas staff. Those affected have complained about having a matter of weeks to prepare for a drop in income of hundreds of dollars a week.Employers will also find themselves with larger super bills.

Consult Australia is now lobbying the Opposition to extend the transition period to non Australians when the new legislation goes to Parliament later this month.   

The meeting with representatives from the Opposition, Greens and Independents is scheduled for Monday. Consult Australia is lobbying parliamentary representatives to make an amendment to the Bill. The proposed amendments will include a transition period for all current LAFHA recipients.

The Bill is expected to be voted on by the current final sitting of Parliament, which takes place on June 28. Consult Australia has also lobbied the government directly but has so far not achieved the reforms it hoped for.

Megan Motto, CEO of Consult Australia said in a statement: “Without a phasing-in period for such a major taxation reform, employment costs are set to skyrocket as the talented skilled migrants we need either leave Australia or require increases to salaries to fill the void left by LAFHA.’

“It has become clear that the Labor Government was either misleading employers or mismanaging the reform. There is no adjustment period. Employers are not being given the time they need to prepare for a major reform. It’s policy on the fly”.

A recent survey suggested over half of those currently receiving the benefit would consider leaving the country if the bill goes ahead.

Declaration of interest: Some staff of Mumbrella’s parent company Focal Attractions are among those affected by the ending of LAFHA


  1. Sam
    14 Jun 12
    1:04 pm

  2. Poms V Aussies.. 100 comments.. GO!

  3. Helen
    14 Jun 12
    1:09 pm

  4. Great to hear that a meeting is scheduled but I think, following all the submissions highlighting the same point which were all ignored, it will make no difference whatsoever. There’s no votes in such a u-turn.

  5. RW&B
    14 Jun 12
    1:12 pm

  6. NB: Aussies – before you put your stubbies down to start flaming Poms/LAFHA:


    -Not, not, NOT about keeping LAFHA indefinitely.

    So please, no arguments pro/anti LAFHA, this is about whether it is FAIR for Australians to not even have to TRY to show they are NOT rorting for another 2 years – whereby 457 holders (who by definition ARE genuinely living-away-from-home) get their non-voting arses kicked in 2 weeks.

    It is about the fairness of the TRANSITION….. not the reform. Got it????

    That said, let the Pom bashing commence, from……………………….NOW!

    *Brits, Americans, Irish, Polish, German, French, Spanish, Asian etc etc

  7. Devil's advocaat
    14 Jun 12
    1:15 pm

  8. You’ve got to celebrate a government that debates tax changes on 28 June which MAY be implemented 3 days later.

    Business friendly. Not.

  9. Wake Up People!
    14 Jun 12
    3:41 pm

  10. Go Consult Australia, I think Megan Motto is my hero!!!! Also, RW&B makes a strong point, I think all agree that LAFHA is history, and probably for good reasons, but to pull the rug out underneath non voting foreigners at the latest time possible would be both catastrophic and unfair. This is purely about giving people and businesses time to adjust. Why should Aussies get a ‘get out jail card for free’ for up to 2 years and Foreigners only 3 days!?!?!?!?! Let’s hope common sense wins the day….

  11. Waaah
    14 Jun 12
    5:14 pm

  12. I agree. There needs to be a transition period for everyone. If the situation were reversed and if it were the government losing money- that 3 days would be 3 years!

  13. Sean
    14 Jun 12
    5:14 pm

  14. The government hasn’t granted a “two year transition to those who have homes in Australia” they’ve granted it to permanent residents, irrespective of where their home is.

  15. Paddington guy
    14 Jun 12
    7:28 pm

  16. Go Consult Australia. It would be great if you could get the Opposition to support this. It would deliver a 2% swing to Labor.

  17. Dave
    14 Jun 12
    9:23 pm

  18. What a joke – the opposition has no interest in supporting this tax rip off! Why should you all be able to pay around 30 to 40% less tax than a local Aussie. The new rules make complete sense and are fair to all. Everyone gas had fair warming of the change so stop the whinging and get on with life.

  19. Helen
    14 Jun 12
    10:24 pm

  20. There’s no way the opposition parties will vote for the transitionary period for 457-ers. Why would they? They’re politicians – only looking to further their own careers. There’s pretty much zero support from Australian voters for it (from what I’ve read on various sites) so they’ll just go with the government on it. For those of us affected, we’re still in limbo and will have 3 days to arrange to go home! Hurray!

  21. melbournegary
    15 Jun 12
    7:37 am

  22. In a candidate short market stopping the LAFHA will see a good % of professionals returning home. We need to be attracting the best the world has to offer to Australia and removing this benifit will make things very difficult! Another knee jerk policy from an unelected government!

  23. SydneySider
    15 Jun 12
    9:03 am

  24. This quote sums it up for me, rightly or wrongly, whether it stays or goes the Govt have undeniably shown how incompetent they are throughout this entire process…

    “It has become clear that the Labor Government was either misleading employers or mismanaging the reform. There is no adjustment period. Employers are not being given the time they need to prepare for a major reform. It’s policy on the fly”

    Misleading, mismanaging, misunderstood…

  25. Bondi Landlord
    15 Jun 12
    10:58 am

  26. What will happen to the Bondi rental market?

  27. AliceDonut
    15 Jun 12
    12:02 pm

  28. Some right twisty buggers on here like

  29. Dave
    16 Jun 12
    1:06 pm

  30. Great , paying the same tax as all Australians do and not getting any support (e.g. Medicare) from the State….very fair! Lets go home!

  31. jean cave
    16 Jun 12
    5:24 pm

  32. George Osbourne quietly dropped his inane “Pasty Tax” proposed in the UK Budget this year. People who previously thought he was a complete pillock, now speak of him with a measure of respect for doing a u-turn graciously.

  33. A Pom
    16 Jun 12
    6:15 pm

  34. G’day LAFHA Losers!

    @Melbournegary What rock have you crawled from under dear Gary?

    I have never known the market to be so rich in talent! London / Dublin they are calling. They want to come over to the sunny shores of Oz, earn great coin and live near the beach. What on earth are you on abooooot “candidate short”?!! Or do you refer to the many dwarf and midget ad exec’s arriving here from countries afar?

    BTW; Imagine how hungry and up for the challenge a candidate will be who knows that they are not going to be getting a tax break! They are here, from day one, to make a good go of it!!!!! Bring it on; hard grafters from day one, long term workers, less attrition and probably less whinging! LAFHA for ad execs – no ta and cheerybye :)

  35. JD99
    16 Jun 12
    8:00 pm

  36. It’s effectively double-taxation, just for being foreign. Full tax, all public services to be paid for direct out of after-tax income, super’ taxed at a whopping 50%. It makes Australia the least desirable place in the World for foreign workers. Singapore income tax rate 20%; Hong Kong 15%; Emirates 0%. No contest. See ya!

  37. RW&B
    19 Jun 12
    1:24 pm

  38. The reason the ATO feels OK to tax 457 visa holders full whack with less services (Medicare, schools etc) is that a 457 holder is not taxed on their international income. So your savings account in the UK earning you 0.5% interest isn’t taxed by the Aussies (that’s if you didn’t empty it to get here). Sooooo generous of them. They just very politely ask you to pay $4,500 per year per kid for school – and the rest.

    Between that, and the fact that a MINORITY government can introduce legislation that the ATO can act upon BEFORE parliament has even voted on it – well, that puts Australia very firmly in the 3rd world of politics.

    I’m also loving the way that Ms Gillard waddles up to the podium at the G20 and offers her financial opinion – then gets a good ol’ slap down…… Embarrassing much??

  39. Helen
    19 Jun 12
    10:20 pm

  40. Haha – embarrassing lots!

  41. John
    20 Jun 12
    12:06 pm

  42. Any update from Consult Australia on their meetings?

  43. Convict past and proud of it
    20 Jun 12
    12:23 pm

  44. @RW&B

    Haha…whats embarrassing is that the ‘slap down’ you’re referring to had nothing to do with Gillard or Australia. Read the whole piece and not the headlines that have been exposed as erroneous. The Canadians think the ‘slap down’ was for them, the US think the ‘slap down’ was for them. No one’s name or country was mentioned. In any case, getting a slap down from Europe about economic management?? Hahaha indeed.

    The Govt currently has an equal number of seats in the House as does the Liberal and National Party coalition, and has at least 4 more votes from independents including the stood down Craig Thomson. Sounds like a majority to me. Do you even read the papers?

    Finally, ‘waddles’? Your lack of ability to compose an intelligent argument is showing. How in hell’s name did someone so bitter and ill informed ever get a 457 in the first place? If you think so poorly of Australia why are you here?
    That’s the real question.

  45. RW&B
    20 Jun 12
    2:11 pm

  46. @Convict past and proud of it

    Oh dear. If you do not believe this is a minority government, then you need to go back to school. Maybe once Julia has lost her seat, she’ll waddle up to your school and teach you some economics.

    As for my 457 visa, I got it for having 17 years of engineering experience which enables the company I work for to deliver projects that simply cannot be completed by locals alone – they just don’t have the skills, FACT – Australia is too remote and too behind the curve.

    There wasn’t a question on the 457 application to gauge whether I was “bitter or ill-informed” it was more about my skills and talent and how they could help you lot out of a hole.

    As for hating Australia – I don’t.


  47. A Pom
    20 Jun 12
    2:42 pm

  48. @RW&B

    Why are you on this forum? This is for ad execs, not engineers?

  49. RW&B
    20 Jun 12
    2:58 pm

  50. @ A Pom

    It isn’t a forum. If you want a forum, go find a forum.

    This is a news article upon which folk can comment. I have done so.

    I can find you a forum. Would you like me to find you a forum?

  51. A Pom
    20 Jun 12
    3:06 pm

  52. @RW&B

    This website is specifically set out to cater for professionals who work in media, advertising, marketing, tv, film etc

    It is all about commentary from these professionals.

    Personally, I feel that tax breaks do not need to be given out to encourage folk to come to Australia, to fill jobs in the above mentioned sectors. I know a few people in Engineering in the UK who have travelled down under for work and would have done so without LAFHA. Anyhow, enough about engineering, this is not the appropriate website to natter about that.

    Good luck if you are affected though and I hope you get by and get through it.

  53. GoodByeLAFHA
    20 Jun 12
    5:29 pm

  54. This discussion is revolving around circles (though I find these OZ vs Poms bashing very amusing… aren’t you guys essentially the same??)

    It is again, and I repeat AGAIN not about the question if tax breaks are useful or justified or not. Fact is:

    – discrimination in the transitional period between foreigners and locals (how come you Anti-LAFHAS don’t complain about the Adelaide guy living in Bondi?)
    – People who come on 3 years Visa CANNOT apply for PR as demanded by many AntiLAFHAS!!

    In any case the government (and not the Australian people) no matter how the reforms are implemented has lost a lot of credibility. If they discard the LAFHA reform, they have just created a chaos for nothing. If not, they are just bluntly liars. So can we trust the government from now on then? What if they suddenly decide to double or tax rates within the next 2 weeks?

    Blaming us of uprooting the tax system is the most outrageous statement. We did not invent LAFHA, you did years ago. It’s a legal process, again to repeat myself, promised to us in our negotiations. But it’s always easy to blame foreigners. I have lived a lot abroad, and everywhere it is the same attitude which is spread like cancer in the population. As in ancient Rome “panem et circenses”, bread and circuses have become foreigners and tax breaks in this discussion.

  55. Adrian Nowell
    22 Jun 12
    7:35 pm

  56. All – migrate away from wasting your time arguing. Visit the ‘you’re having a lafha’ Facebook page for a more informed discussion. If you really care, there are instructions on who to contact and how to make a difference.