Date issued: 25 July 2013

“The Federal Opposition’s recognition of major flaws with the government’s proposed cap on tax deductions for self-education is welcome.

It’s a case of common sense prevailing, with Shadow Education Minister Christopher Pyne this afternoon acknowledging what thousands of workers around Australia are already too aware of – the proposal is bad policy, that was hastily put together with a range of unintended consequences that have the real potential to undermine Australia’s future prosperity.

In an article published today I highlighted that the government’s proposal is dressed up to support education, when it will in fact have the opposite impact.

Lifelong learning is a worthy aspiration for all of us. It is a cornerstone principle of our modern society, providing the knowledge, creativity and responsiveness necessary to adapt to the rapidly changing global market place.

By capping tax deductions on self-education for individuals, regardless of their profession or vocation, the Government is attacking education and diminishing our ability to transition to a knowledge-based economy.

The importance of education is critical to increasing the competitiveness, productivity and innovation of Australian businesses.

The economic impacts have not been fully thought through. A $2000 non-indexed cap will discourage individuals from pursuing certain training, continuing skills and knowledge development. It will impact those businesses that provide skills and knowledge training, reducing their revenues and profits, putting pressure on budgets and jobs. There will also be a broader negative impact on the economy as we lose market share to other countries and markets that place a higher value and recognition on ongoing learning and skills development.

The worst kept secret in Australia is that the knowledge economy is our future. Will a leader from either side of politics affirm that, and ensure this proposal goes no further?