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Tuesday, 20 April 1999
Page: 3811

To the Honourable the President and Members of the Senate in Parliament assembled:

The petition of the undersigned shows that citizens of Tasmania think that the government's taxation package, including the goods and services tax, does not provide sufficient information nor detail and hence is open to inequitable application during its implementation.

Your petitioners ask/request that the Senate should not pass the legislation until the following questions are resolved fairly and equitable for the citizens of Tasmania:

1. How will the government ensure Tasmania is treated fairly in comparison to the more affluent and larger States? Tasmania, on a per capita basis, has the highest unemployment, lowest average weekly wage, the oldest population, the greatest number of people dependent on government income support and the most decentralised population of any state of Australia. The government's model for estimating the cost of the GST does not allow for the different economic and social patterns between states.

2. How will the government ensure families can afford good food which will be relatively more expensive in respect to `junk' foods whose price will decrease after the removal of sales tax? Tasmanians pay the highest costs for food in Australia and are among the worst health status population in Australia.

3. How will the government ensure that organisations and charities can continue to provide the necessary community services and support to disadvantaged citizens? Community organisations and charities in Tasmania will face a double jeopardy from the implementation of the Tax Package. It is predicted that poverty in Tasmania will increase and more people will be seeking extra assistance. At the same time organisations will have a reduced capacity to meet those needs because of increased administrative costs associated with compliance and in many instances reduced revenue because of the application of the tax to such things as membership fees and fund raising.

4. How will government ensure that service quality and scope of education, child care and health services can be maintained without increasing the costs of these services? The government proposes that essential services such as education, child care and health will be GST free. However, community based organisations offering these services will have increased costs arising from the extra administration and accounting requirements of the tax package.

by Senator Gibson(from 85 citizens)
by Senator Harradine(from 85 citizens)
by Senator Sherry(from 85 citizens)