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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

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