9 July 2013 — The Green Building Council of Australia has joined industry groups calling on the Australian Government to reject a proposed $2000 cap on tax deductions for self-education, saying it would hinder green skill building.
“An innovative, competitive property and construction industry relies on a workforce that is committed to ongoing learning, development and training,” said GBCA chief operating officer Robin Mellon.
“Any measure that makes it costlier or harder for people to invest in their skills and expertise will undermine the productivity and competitiveness of Australia’s workforce.
“We join other industry groups in calling for the Australian Government to ‘scrap the cap’.”
Expenses incurred by people undertaking short courses and professional training to further their careers or gain new skills has traditionally been covered by tax deductions.
However, a Gillard Government proposal sought to limit claimable self-education expenses to $2000 a person annually. Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury opened consultations on the proposed cap in May which close this week.
The GBCA argues that a tax on learning would hinder the adoption of green skills across Australia’s property and construction industry.
“Green building is one of the world’s fastest-growing industries – and one which is rapidly evolving,” Mr Mellon explains.
“People from professional services to trades recognise that sustainability principles and green skills must be integrated into industry at every level. A broad-based cap on self-education would act as a disincentive for people seeking the training and development they need to continue to keep Australia at the forefront of sustainable development.
“If Australia is to maintain its world-leading capabilities in sustainable building, the Australian Government must encourage ongoing learning rather than looking for short-term opportunities to save cash at the expense of education.”