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Welcome to John Howard's Australia - where wheeelchairs and walking sticks are taxed.



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JENNY MACKLIN

FEDERAL MEMBER FOR JAGAJAGA

Shadow Minister for Social Security, and the Aged

 

30 June 1998

 

WELCOME TO JOHN HOWARD’S AUSTRALIA -

WHERE WHEELCHAIRS AND WALKING STICKS ARE TAXED

 

It is not surprising that the Prime Minister in Question Time today failed to provide a justification for a GST on wheelchairs, prosthetic limbs, personal care services, and car modifications, Shadow Minister for Social Security, Jenny Macklin, said.

 

‘Such a tax simply cannot be justified when it adds even more to what people with disabilities have to pay so that they can do the things that other Australians take for granted, like walking, eating, getting dressed, and driving a car.

 

‘Currently, these items, and many more, are exempt from the wholesales sales tax because previous governments have recognised that to make already expensive items even more expensive for people with disabilities is simply not fair.

 

Items which are currently exempt include:

 

* Braille watches and clocks

* Talking book machines

* Spectacles and eye glasses for visually impaired people

* Artificial eyes

* Telephone communication services for hearing impaired people

* Certain hearing aid batteries

* Walking sticks

* Self-help asthma inhalers

* Surgical boots

* Van lift*

 

‘Now Mr Howard wants to tax all of these items.

 

‘But if he expects people with disabilities to be fooled by promises of compensation, he can think again.

 

‘In the words of the Physical Disability Council of New South Wales:

 

‘People with physical disabilities will lose out in a GST because it will increase taxes on goods and services which are now untaxed.. and which rank highly in our budgets e.g. personal services, aids and equipment, phones, electricity and rent ... Any attempt to compensate the ‘average person with a disability’ will cause people with greater needs to miss out because of their different spending patterns.

 

Further information

Jenny Macklin  026 277 2035

Leith Greenslade  026 277 2037

 

[*Items for people with disabilities which are all currently sales tax exempt may be found in the Australian Sales Tax Guide.]

 

 

 

KD