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Cost of justice to soar



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> 1 MINISTER FOR JUSTICE AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS ° SENATOR MICHAEL TATE

18 December 1991

COST OF J U ST IC E TO SOAR

The Federal Opposition's consumption tax package will completely undermine the national move to reduce the costs of justice.

The Federal Minister for Justice and Consumer Affairs, Senator Michael Tate, said today that at one stroke the Opposition proposed to add the 15 percent GST to the cost of any legal service used anywhere in Australia.

"Australians who require legal advice or legal services will have to pay more", he said.

The estimated total annual cost of legal services supplied throughout Australia, based on research by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, is in excess of $3 billion.

"Because of the GST, hundreds of millions of dollars would be added to the cost", he said.

Senator Tate said that among the main impacts of the Coalition tax package would be significant increases in fees for:

Conveyancing, for every Australian buying a home; Lawyers acting in Family Court matters including divorce, custody or property issues arising from family breakdown; Drawing up a will; Legal advice on neighbourhood disputes, work injuries, car accidents etc.

Senator Tate said the tragedy of the Opposition's blinkered determination to force up the price of every legal service was that the hardest hit would be those least able to pay.

"At a time when the community is crying out for a reduction in the costs of legal services, the Hewson package will markedly increase the costs.

"Every-day legal transactions will require a compulsory GST payment to the Federal Treasurer", Senator Tate said.

"It will apply to every legal matter, regardless of size, content or merit throughout the entire Australian community", he said.

For information contact Adrian Wild or Shaun Gath (06) 2777260

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