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Covid Victoria: RATs tax deductible for people taking them to attend work


Rapid antigen tests will be made tax deductible for Aussies using them for this specific reason.

Rapid antigen tests will be made tax deductible for Aussies taking them to attend work, Josh Frydenberg says.

Businesses purchasing the tests for employees will also be exempt from the fringe benefits tax (FBT).

In a speech to the Australian Industry Group, the federal Treasurer will say the “common sense” move provides clarity and assurance to both groups.

“Covid-19 tests are an important tool being used by businesses to protect their workforce and to ensure they can keep their doors open and our supply chains running,” he will say on Monday.

“That is why we will bring Covid-19 tests in line with other work related expenses by making them tax deductible for individuals and FBT exempt for businesses.”

Under an update to the legislation, workers earning up to $120,000 a year would receive a refund of $6.50 for every dual pack of RATs purchased for $20.

A small business would reduce its fringe benefits tax liability by around $20 for every dual pack provided to employees.

The measures would also apply to any future medically approved Covid tests and will apply to the 2021-22 year.

Meanwhile, new Treasury analysis shows that switching jobs can lead to pay rises of between 8-10 per cent.

More than a million workers started new jobs in the three months to November, up 10 per cent on pre-pandemic levels.

The Productivity Commission will also be tasked with developing a road map to help governments make productivity enhancing reforms as the nation recovers from Covid.

The second five-yearly review will identify priority sectors including data, digital innovation and workforce skills, and be completed over the next 12 months.

BORDER PROMISE REFUSAL

There are no guarantees Australia’s international border will remain open to tourists, who are expected to be given the green light to return Down Under this month.

The Sunday Herald Sun revealed the federal government’s top secret security committee will meet on Monday to decide when tourists and general business travellers will be allowed into the country.

But Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews refused to promise the border will stay open once the date is set.

“I’m not going to sit here and say absolutely guarantee because we don’t know what might be coming our way,” Ms Andrews said.

“Hopefully once the borders are open, they remain open.”

Ms Andrews said she was keen to reopen Australia’s borders to business groups and students on December 1 last year. However, the reopening was paused two weeks after the nation was hit by the Omicron variant.

She said the return of international visitors was a priority for the government, which was awaiting further health advice. The tourism sector has been pleading for the border to be thrown open to all fully vaccinated travellers to help struggling operators bounce back from the pandemic.

The Australian Chamber–Tourism last week urged the government to waive passenger movement charges and extend financial support for businesses.

Scott Morrison on Sunday said the announcement was not “far away”.

“We are looking forward to be able to make that decision to open up our borders and welcome visitors back to Australia again as soon as we safely and possibly can,” Mr Morrison said.

Opposition Home Affairs spokeswoman, Kristina Keneally, said it was not clear if travellers would have to be vaccinated, how many doses were required and which visa holders would be allowed in.

She criticised the lack of information on the impending change as “concerning”.

“The Novak Djokovic saga showed us just how vulnerable our borders have become,” she said.

HOSPITAL TRAINING DISRUPTIONS

Almost half of Victoria’s trainee doctors say Covid-19 has affected their hospital training by disrupting their teaching and increasing their workloads.

The national survey of doctors in training also revealed that little has improved with hospital culture, with steady reports of bullying or discrimination, and many say they are still not being paid for overtime.

The 2021 Medical Training Survey, completed by 21,000 junior doctors – about half the national trainee medical workforce – revealed that Covid-19 had derailed their training to some degree.

It was either by affecting their exam preparation and routine teaching, or curtailing training opportunities and progression.

Trainee doctors in Victoria and NSW, where Covid restrictions were the harshest, were most affected, particularly those working in city hospitals.

The survey, released on Monday and paid for by the Medical Board of Australia, found workplace culture had not improved. Just over a third of doctors had seen or experienced bullying, harassment or discrimination, mainly carried out by senior doctors or nurses.

It found that 52 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors in training experienced or saw bullying, harassment or discrimination, compared with 35 per cent of trainees nationally, and half said it had a moderate or major effect on their training.

Originally published as RAT tax relief on the way for some Aussies



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