ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation

Media release: Tax reform key to balancing Federal Budget

3 September 2013

The ACT Council of Social Service supports the tax and spending reform commitments sought in the open letter to the Prime Minister published today by the Australian Council of Social Service. 

Cassandra Goldie, CEO of ACOSS said in the letter “We need a national conversation about what can reasonably be expected to be raised through taxes and who should receive which benefits and services.”

Director of the ACT Council of Social Service Susan Helyar said today “The ACT economy and community bear the brunt of a rush to return to surplus in two ways.  People in the ACT affected by poverty and exclusion are stuck on inadequate income support and can’t access the services they need.  And job cuts shrink public sector employment opportunities and private sector growth.

“ACOSS has outlined a plan to get the Federal Budget back in the black whilst maintaining essential spending on income support and social services:

  1. Set medium term expenditure and revenue targets and restore the Budget to surplus when economic growth is restored to trend.
  2. Reform the tax system to restore public revenues to a level that meets the community’s reasonable expectations of services and support as fairly and efficiently as possible.
  3. Increase the equity and efficiency of our tax system by taxing income from different sources in the same way, removing tax benefits that distort saving and investment decisions (for example over-investment in existing housing which is a major cause of our high housing costs) and strengthen potentially sound state and territory tax bases such as Land and Payrolls and reduce reliance on inefficient Stamp Duties.
  4. Stop spending on wasteful and poorly targeted programs (such as such as the Baby Bonus and Schoolkids Bonus), and programs that inflate the cost of essential services (such as the Extended Medicare Safety net) to make room for higher priorities such as an increase in Family Tax Benefits for low income families and the Newstart Allowance.
  5. Stop income tax concessions that are not delivering good value to the community and are not well targeted.  For example, many high income earners receive more throughout their lives in tax breaks for superannuation than if they were paid the full rate of the age pension.

“The ACT Government has already begun implementing tax reforms at territory level that will make our local tax system more equitable and efficient.

“People of the ACT need the Federal Government to take on tax reform as part of balancing the Federal Budget.  We need the Federal Government to lead a national conversation about what is an equitable and efficient revenue and expenditure policy, using an inclusive approach where all voices are heard and the hard issues are discussed.”

For more information or comment please contact
Susan Helyar, Director, on 0448 791 987.