Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Tax package: bad news for battlers.

Download WordDownload Word







13 August 1998


The Government's GST based tax package offers more to those with more, and less to those with less, according to ALP Senator Sue West.

"It is inherently unfair tha t I could expect to be $64 better off each week, while an unemployed person only yields an extra $2.54," Senator West said. "This is simply not good enough and average Australians must realise their benefits will be in accordance with what they already have.

"But overall, the entire structure of the tax package is built on shaky ground. To begin with, I have to question the validity of Mr Howard's promise that the GST rate will be practically impossible to increase. Coming from a man who promised us that he would "never ever" introduce a GST, his guarantees offer very little comfort indeed.

"Moreover, only two of the 23 countries currently using a GST have managed to keep the consumer tax at its original rate. With 91.3 per cent of countries eventually raising the tax rate, the odds are well and truly against us," Senator West said.

"I am also doubtful of the permanence of the compensation package proposed to offset the impact of the new tax for low income groups. While the Coalition is eager to convince us the GST rate is immovable, it has done little to ensure the compensation measures are similarly set in stone. The government seems all too eager to protect its tax package, but not those who will feel its pinch the most.

"Even the exemptions aren't completely safe from its broad-based bias. For example, there are many health services that do not fall into the Medicare net and will therefore be taxed. These include physiotherapy, podiatry and alternative health services. Basic over the counter medicines that do not require a doctor's prescription will also be taxed.

"Similarly while education has been exempt, the tools that go with it have not. School uniforms, books, shoes, pens and excursions will all be hit by the GST.

"I couldn't imagine a more unfair system for mainstream Australians. The more you have the more you get, while those with little to lose have lost," Senator West said.

Media Enquiries: Briana Blackett (02) 6361 7211.