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GST on home help: more hardship, more complexity.

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GST On Home Help: More Hardship, More Complexity Chris Evans - Shadow Minister for Family Services and the Aged

Media Statement - 24 July 2000

Older Australians unable to access HACC services are not the only group who will face a GST bill on essential home help. Over 600 people with disabilities in Western Australia will also be slugged with the GST when they purchase home help services from private providers.

Senator Chris Evans, Shadow Minister for Family Services and the Aged, said:

"Imposing the GST on individuals and families needing state government assistance is yet another example of the Government hitting up on those Australians most in need of help.

"The Minister for Aged Care, Bronwyn Bishop, pretends that HACC services are always available and appropriate to the needs of Australians with physical, sensory and neurological disabilities but we know this is not the case."

The Disability Services Commission (WA) offers 'direct consumer funding' to people with severe or profound disabilities who cannot gain access to suitable HACC services.

Senator Evans said direct funding was necessitated by "chronic unmet need for help services." In 1998 the ABS estimated that there were 68,000 Australians whose need for assistance was only partly met, or not met all."

"We now have a situation where people with disabilities who are able to access HACC services get them GST-free. However, people who use direct funding to privately purchase the same services pay a higher price. No compensating adjustment has been made to the level of their funding.

"The application of the Government's GST to home help services is complex and discriminatory. It is a cruel burden on an ever-growing pool of older and disabled Australians."

Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.