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Wednesday, 2 December 1998
Page: 1146

Mr LEE —My question is addressed to the Treasurer. Does the Treasurer agree with the Vos report's comments on the additional costs of the GST for the education sector where it states:

. . . In terms of equitable treatment with the private sector, for which the Government has earmarked $500 million, the Committee feels the education sector should share in this pool of funds.

To do otherwise may result in valuable resources being diverted from the delivery of education services.

Treasurer, will the government comply with the committee's recommendation, or will it allow education to suffer as the GST turns teachers into accountants?

Mr COSTELLO (Treasurer) —The first point I make is that, under the government's tax reform, education becomes cheaper—because, under the government's tax reform, people who supply education get all of their tax back and there is no tax on outputs. So education falls in cost under the new tax system; it is cheaper and more affordable than it is under Labor's tax system. Labor taxes business inputs, particularly embedded inputs in relation to education.

Mr Lee —Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order on relevance. This was a question about the costs of administering and applying the new GST. The Treasurer is not being relevant to the question.

Mr Melham —Table the ballot paper.

Mr SPEAKER —The member for Banks. I rule the reply in order.

Mr COSTELLO —As I was going on to say, as I said in the second reading speech in relation to implementation costs, registered organisations will be able to take advantage of that particular provision.