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ACOSS launches tax policy to underpin strong future for services

The Australian Council of Social Service today launched its tax reform election policy, calling for serious tax reform, starting with an end to tax loopholes for the wealthy in order to fund investment in our essential services and income support system.

ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie launched the policy at the ACOSS Budget Breakfast following addresses by Human Services Minister Paul Fletcher and Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen. 

Goldie said, “People often ask why they are paying more for the doctor, aged care, child care and other essential services. One of the main reasons is that we don’t have the revenue base we need to meet the costs of services in an ageing population. We are the 8th lowest taxed country in the OECD.”

“Health, aged care and disability services alone are expected to cost $21 billion higher per year in a decade’s time. These investments are necessary and overdue, and their costs must be met a stronger tax base.

“This is not the time for a tax cut ‘auction’. In the recent past, we have seen how eight successive income tax cuts created pressure for harsh cutbacks in essential services and social security payments in the 2014 budget.”

Goldie said that at the same time, major gaps in the income tax system enable people with high incomes to avoid contributing their fair share remain in place, including:
•    The use of private trusts and companies to avoid tax;
•    Negative gearing and the 50% Capital Gains Tax ‘discount’;
•    Avoidance of tax by companies operating across national borders;
•    The tax free status of investments through superannuation after retirement.

“Over-generous tax breaks for superannuation after retirement, dividend imputation ‘refunds’, and weaknesses in the Medicare Levy must be reformed so that people can access health and aged care services when they need them,” she said.

“The ALP plan to deliver major reform to negative gearing, capital gains, dividend imputation and private trusts is welcome. The Coalition has delivered significant reforms to superannuation, but much more remains to be done.”

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