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People with disabilities rally to protest GST impact



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To: Political editor Media Monitors

A ACROD Ληοηη l i m i t s ACROD Limited NS.W. Division A.C.N. 008 445 485 24 C a b a rita Road. Cabarita. N.S W .2I37

Telephone: (02) 9743 2699 TTY: (02) 9743 2854

Fax: (02) 9743 2899

MEDIA RELEASE

6 " November 1998

PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES RALLY TO PROTEST GST IMPACT

People with disabilities, carers and families, and non government service providers from across N SW will travel to Canberra on Tuesday to join a national rally organised by ACROD, the Peak Industry Body for disability service providers.

The Federal Government plans to impose a G ST on the so called “commercial activities" of non government disability agencies, which include fundraising activities such as raffles and art unions, membership fees, and support from the corporate sector This is based on the rationale that business and charitable organisations should be treated on an equivalent basis where they provide similar goods and services on a commercial basis.

T h e income from ‘commercial activities' of non government agencies, which directly provide more services to people with disabilities; and the profits made by businesses, which go directly to owners and shareholders, cannot in any way be considered as “equivalent", or as a competitive situation” Ms Robin Way, Chairperson of ACROD NSW Division, said in

Sydney today. “The outcome of this approach will be that people with disabilities lose specialist support services."

At a conference in Adelaide yesterday, the Prime Minister urged a greater philanthropic tradition from corporate Australia, calling on the business community to contribute to charities and welfare agencies through “cash grants, matching gifts" and other “in kind" support. T h e Prime Minister failed to mention, however, that such contributions would be

subject to a 10 percent Goods and Services Tax” said Ms Way.

“Even more galling is the Prime Minister's assertion that Australia had “moved beyond the days when government alone attempted to assume sole responsibility for social welfare." This Coalition Government continues to ignore the fact that the non government sector always has, and continues to subsidise the cost of providing services in the community. In the case of disability services, non government agencies are subsidising anywhere from 30

to 80% of the cost of providing support. Tax concessions currently available to non government agencies have been crucial in allowing the sector to maintain services to people with disabilities while government subsidies have steadily decreased in real terms.”

In December last year people with disabilities and sen/ice providers travelled to Canberra to protest against the Federal Government's lack of commitment to addressing the massive levels of unmet demand for specialist disability services. “Now, a year later, we’re forced to go back and do it again' said Ms Way. T h is is about the right of people with disabilities to be supported to live in our community. That these people are forced to take this kind of

political action to have their rights recognised by our Government is an absolute disgrace.”

CONTACT: Robin Way: 02 9805 1264 (office) 0412 348 185 (mobile) lllawarra: Ms Amanda Calwell-Smith 02 4227 3111 (office) 0412 162 779 mobile Northern NSW: Mr Steve Smith 0265 52 3955 (office) 014 493 573 mobile South West NSW: Ms Sally Hofman, 0263 825 390 0417 659 596 mobile Evan Starling, (Spastic Centre of NSW), 018 297 346 mobile

•lap or ACROD NSW: 02 97432699 (Office)

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