Election promises on tax

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced the government will extend the education tax refund “to take the pressure off” working families.

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Gillard made the promise, which will cost about $220 million over four years, in a Canberra press conference.

The tax break, aimed at easing cost-of-living pressures on families, will only apply to uniforms bought after July 2011.

Parents will be able to claim up to 50 per cent of the cost of uniforms.

The prime minister said the move was an “extension” of the existing education tax refund which currently applies to books, stationery and computer items.

At present families weren’t claiming the full amount of the tax break, which totals $390 for primary school students and $780 for secondary school students, Ms Gillard said.

Some 1.3 million families will benefit from the extension.

“This is a measure to help ease the costs of getting kids to schools for families,” Ms Gillard told reporters in Canberra.

Ms Gillard said she supported the wearing of school uniforms.

“I believe part of a high quality education is learning how to present yourself to the world and that’s what school uniform is all about.

“I also believe having a school uniform helps undercut the kind of unhealthy competition we can see at schools to have the latest, most expensive, fashionable gear,” she said.

“I also think it undercuts some of those unhealthy things that can happen at schools when there’s a competition for the latest, most fashionable item.

“That’s why I think this is appropriate.”

Ms Gillard said wearing a school uniform helped form “a sense of self” and personal discipline.