Engineering profession undermined by tax proposal
Engineers Australia has joined other professional bodies in condemning tax proposals by federal treasurer Wayne Swan to limit tax deductibility to $2000 for work-related self-education expenses.

“Wayne Swan’s announcement represents a severe threat to professional education in Australia,” said Stephen Durkin, chief executive of EA.   “Chartered engineers are required to undertake 50 hours of continuing professional development each year. Mr Swan’s announcement fails to recognise that ongoing professional education and development is a necessity for engineers and other professionals.
If Australia wants to have a highly skilled professional workforce that can compete in the global economy, then we have to be serious about aligning our policies to support this outcome. The last thing we should be doing is removing incentives for self-funded education.   Professionals working in rural and regional Australia will be hardest hit by this announcement. Theseindividuals are often faced with no choice but to travel to major centres to undertake training and education, and travel costs can easily represent half of their professional education expenses. This is another blow to an already struggling sector.

Engineers and other professionals have an ethical responsibility to further their professional expertise through continuing professional development.  The community would rightly expect that our professional workforce maintains the highest education and development standards.  Any step that makes it harder for people to invest in their skills and expertise is a step backward for this country. This announcement will compromise Australia’s future by putting professional educationoptions out of reach for many people.   If Australia wants to have a highly skilled professional workforce that can compete in the global economy, then we have to be serious about aligning our policies to support this outcome. The last thing we should be doing is removing incentives for self-funded education.   Engineers Australia strongly opposes this policy measure and we call on the Treasurer to reconsider his position as a matter of urgency,” said Mr Durkin.

ENDS
Media Contact:
Sara Ross–Manager Public Relations Engineers Australia
Phone: (02) 6270 6565
mobile: 0402 419 962
sross@engineersaustralia.org.au

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