Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
More Government headaches on the run!

Download PDFDownload PDF

More Government Headaches On The Run!

Jenny Macklin - Shadow Minister for Health

Media Statement - 23 June 2000

Shadow Health Minister, Ms Jenny Macklin says the Government has bungled its policy to provide a GST exemption to some health goods because it has excluded any new products released after July 1st this year.

"Sunscreens are constantly being reformulated and new paracetamol products are regularly launched. These will now all have GST contrary to the Government's promise.

"The Minister for Health, Dr Wooldridge is directly responsible for this bungle because he hurriedly signed two flawed Ministerial Determinations after the Opposition raised this issue in Question time yesterday," Ms Macklin said.

"The Government promised last year to exempt paracetamol products , sunscreen, folate, condoms and personal lubricants from the GST. The Minister has dithered for months leaving industry in the dark about exactly what definitions would be used for these products.

"When this issue was raised in Parliament, Dr Wooldridge obviously remembered the draft Determinations were lying on his desk unsigned. He got the papers and signed them into law so the Prime Minister could announce it at the end of Question time.

"Unfortunately Dr Wooldridge did not realise his version excluded all new products.

"As a result only existing products will be exempted and any products registered with the Therapeutic Goods Authority after July 1 will not have a GST exemption. Did Dr Wooldridge's Department know that the draft Ministerial Determinations were flawed and if so why did they do nothing?

"The Minister must now explain whether the GST on new products will be permanent or whether he will scrap yesterday's Determinations.

"The fact that these determinations - flawed as they are - are only being released 8 days before the GST commences has also added additional burdens to industry. This sort of bureaucratic red-tape certainly does nothing to encourage innovation and the listing of new products on the Australian market.

"Despite having 12 months to prepare, Dr Wooldridge has left it to the last moment and put in another appalling display of mismanagement," Ms Macklin said.

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