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GST & local government - more bad news for regional Australia.

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Media Statement

Senator Sue Mackay

Shadow Minister for Regional Services,

Territories and Local Government


1 February 2000



GST & Local Government - More Bad News For Regional Australia

In the face of rising criticism from regional Australia on the massive cuts to services over the last four years, the Howard Government has slugged them again, Shadow Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government, Senator Sue Mackay, said today.

The release of the draft Division 81 determinations yesterday confirmed that the Government will apply the GST to a huge range of community services provided by Local Government that were previously tax free.

"For the Treasurer to argue that providing a swimming pool in an outback community is a commercial activity is nonsense. The reason Councils provide these services in the first place because the private sector wont - they are simply not profitable," said Senator Mackay.

"Regional Australians will now be paying GST on a huge range of essential services such as crematoriums, tip entry fees, parks and gardens, marriage certificates and parking meters.

"This is another broken promise to regional Australia. Before the election the Howard Government promised that all Council activities would be GST free. This would have been in line with Local Government's wholesale sales tax exempt status.

"Yesterday's 327 page document would have been a simple one page if the Government had kept it's word.

"This makes an absolute mockery of the Prime Minister's commitment yesterday that there would be no more cuts to services in regional Australia.

"Councils will be forced to either increase rates or cuts services, particularly in regional Australia," said Senator Mackay.



jy  2000-02-02  11:25