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Beware Democrats bearing gifts.

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Beware Democrats Bearing Gifts Wayne Swan - Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services

Media Statement - 21 June 2000

The Democrats' argument that a 2.75% GST would be cheaper for caravan park and boarding house residents misses the fundamental points that a GST - any GST - on caravan park and boarding house rents is discriminatory, and breaches John Howard's undertaking at the last election not to impose a GST on rent.

Labor believes that caravan park and boarding house residents must be treated the same as any other renter - full stop.

That is why we are moving amendments in the Senate to take the GST off their rent, and keep it off.

The Democrats' assertions that people will be better off under their scheme have two serious flaws:

Firstly, the Democrats don't understand the issue. Meg Lees' Press Release today says that imposing a GST would "reduce compliance costs for operators by allowing full input tax credits to be claimed".

I would love Senator Lees to explain how the process of claiming input tax credits reduces compliance costs. The only way to reduce compliance costs is to keep the GST off rent! No need to claim anything back - no paperwork.

If Senator Lees can't understand this, what faith should caravan park and boarding house residents have in her?

Secondly, the material Senator Lees relies upon to try and re-assure battlers is from a report which has been attacked by the government, and quite probably re-written several times.

Where will Senator Lees be if in a few years' time, her numbers turn out to be wrong?

What is absolutely clear is that caravan park and boarding house residents are clearly worse off in the short term.

This is why they don't want a GST on their rent.

They also know that once they are caught in the GST net, they will get hurt every time this government increases the GST rate in the future. They, like most Australians, are worried about this government's roll-forward plans for the GST.

I challenge Senator Lees to come with me to any caravan park in Australia and argue her plan to charge them a GST against Labor's plan to save them from it. Then she will see just how unpopular her idea is.

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