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Amazing tax cameos and the disappearing adult

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Australian Catholic Social Welfare Commission A Commission of the Australian Catholic Bishops 24 August 1998 18/98

Amazing Tax Cameos and the Disappearing Adult

The Australian Catholic Social Welfare Commission questions the integrity of the Coalition's tax modelling of its tax package and the current spate of advertising which markets the benefits of the package. "Tax package cameos being marketed by glossy advertising and snapshot references to 'what is the total package worth to me?' are selective and do not give a full indication of the package's impact." said

Mr O'Connor, National Director.

"Currently, the Government's marketing lacks detail, appeals to self-interest and seems intent on dulling the inquiring mind of the Australian public. The advertising should not subdue questions concerning regressive aspects of the package or the need for greater detail necessary to make informed decisions about its true worth.

"It would be a great shame if many of the benefits this package promises Australian families were overshadowed by uncertainty and fear that is inspired by a lack of detailed information." he added.

"It is clear from the Tax Package cameos that the greatest benefits go to high- income groups. A Single Person with no family commitments earning $75,000 will benefit by $68.55 each week whereas a Single Income Family with two children earning only $25,000 will benefit by only $16.44 a week. In this instance, the relative disadvantage of the low-income family is unfair since they will be hit

harder than the high income-earning Single Person spending less of their disposable income on the essentials of life.

"The cameos raise questions about how much recognition has really been afforded to the work of raising a family - Australia's future tax payers.

"Single and dual income families earning around $45,000 with young adult sons and daughters are still not compensated in the package for the disadvantage they have experienced under previous Youth Allowance measures. In fact they will be slugged twice. First, the family will not be eligible for the Family Assistance which cuts out when a child reaches 16 and 17 years of age. And second when the Youth Allowance payment of $90 a week is completely withdrawn under Parental Income Testing for each 18 to 20 year old in the family. These are not high income earning Australians." he said.

"It is a concern that for average families depicted in the tax campaign

advertisements with two or three dependent children, there may be an additional 'hidden' dependent young adult who is unemployed or studying with no financial assistance. They would add at least $130 each week to the family's taxed

consumption and costs of living, according to Institute of Family Studies - this estimate does not include housing, transport, medical or dental expenses. The invisible dependent young adult attracts no assistance under this package" Mr O'Connor concluded.