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Older Australians still sceptical on risky and unfair GST plan



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APr SFAustralian P ensioners ’ S uperannuants ’ F ederation30th March 1999Older Australians still sceptical on risky and unfair GST plan"The Government's tax reforms pose an unacceptable risk for large num bers of retirees, especially the 1 million older people reliant on the v full age pension," the President of the Australian Pensioners/ and to vSuperannuants' Federation (AP&SF) Mrs Edith M organ said today."We support genuine and fair taxation reform but will continue to oppose changes which will negatively impact most heavily on those who can least afford it. The Government has failed to convince AP&SF of the fairness of including food in the GST or that older people will be adequately compensated for price increases and the devaluation of their savings."Food m ust be kept GST free. However, a new tax on food is not the only problem. Business groups have echoed pensioners' claims that the compensation for the GST on other essentials of life and general price rises will quickly disappear. To address this problem the Governm ent must take steps to quarantine the 25% pension benchm ark from the GST.""The Aged Persons' and Retirees' Savings Bonuses are inadequate and they ignore retired people under age pension age as well as older unemployed, who already face a harsh and unfair social security means test. It is also unjust and unacceptable that anyone who retires after 1 July 2000 will face an instant devaluation of their retirem ent savings yet they w on't receive one cent of compensation.AP&SF's Queensland spokesperson Mrs Yvonne Zardani w arned that up to 2 million older people w ould face an unrelenting escalation of health costs because of the plan to apply the GST to over-the-counter medicines. "This is because of the continual removal of pharmaceuticals used by older people from the concesssional Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme."There still remains a range of question marks over the compensation proposals, such as the impact on public housing and private renters."Older people will reject the Governm ent's Tax Package until they are convinced they will not end up being worse off under the changes."XXXFor comment contact Edith M organ on (03) 9481 5944 or Yvonne Zardani on (07) 3356 4795 (home) or 0417 738 422 (mobile). AP&SF's submission is at www.apsf.org.auel 2 619 Elizabeth Street Redfern 2016 Ph (02) 9699 6177 Fax (02) 9699 6957 E-mail apsf@nlc.net.au