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Good sense prevails in application of GST to health



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Australian Private Hospitals Association Limited

Media Release

GOOD SENSE PREVAILS IN APPLICATION OF GST TO HEALTH

Thursday 13 August 1998

The Australian Private Hospitals7Association (APHA) today congratulated the Government for heeding industry demands that health services be excluded from a GST.

APHA Executive Director, Mr Ian Chalmers, said: “While it is too early to determine the overall effect o f the Government’s tax reform package on the health care sector, we are pleased that good sense has prevailed and health care services will be GST-free.

“The Government was obviously influenced by the joint industry submission from five health industry associations, coordinated by APHA earlier this year.

“We argued that as a basic entitlement, health services should attract minimum taxation so as to maximise individual access.

“The principles o f Australia’s healthcare system, universality, access and equity, would have been undermined by the application o f a GST as health expenditure is generally not discretionary. This would have meant that low-income earners and the sick would be the most disadvantaged i f health services were subject to a GST.

“APHA also fully endorses the proposed 30% tax rebate on private health insurance. This is a substantial and very welcome measure. It offers real potential to restore community confidence, arrest the decline in health insurance and dramatically improve access to private healthcare services.

“Most importantly, this health insurance rebate should substantially case pressure on public hospitals, providing a boost to Medicare.

“APHA will be examining the detail o f the tax reform package over the next week to fully evaluate its overall impact on health care services,” Mr Chalmers said.

For further information contact:

Ian Chalmers 0411 409 364 (Mob)

Michael R off APHA Public Affairs Manager 018 628 192 (Mob)

Suite 1. 25 Napier Cloae. D akin ACT 2600, PO Box 346 Curtin ACT 2605. T.I: 02 6285 2716 F tt; 02 6285 2243 In te rn * htW Nww.aphe.org.au