The South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS) welcomes Premier Weatherill’s new proposals for tax reform announced today, but stops short of endorsing all the proposals.
SACOSS Executive Director, Ross Womersley said,
“The Premier is quite right to highlight the revenue challenges facing all state governments in providing quality services into the future, particularly in the area of education and health care
“In order to address this revenue shortfall it may be fairer to reform our tax system by giving state governments access to the national income tax pool, rather than simply expanding the base of and/or increasing the rate GST"
Any increase in the GST will clearly hit those on the lowest income hardest, and SACOSS is concerned about any plans to increase it, even with compensation to low income households.
Mr Womersley continued,
“We still believe there are big opportunities to generate additional revenue by fixing income tax arrangements such as unfair superannuation concessions for the rich, capital gains tax breaks and negative gearing, before considering any increase in GST"
“While we don’t agree with everything in the Premier’s tax package, SACOSS together with ACOSS and the other Councils of Social Service have consistently called for everything to be on the table in the national tax debate, so we welcome Premier Weatherill’s focus on income taxes as the best base to pay for vital government and community services."
SACOSS also recognises the potential for these proposals to provide substantial savings by reducing duplication of government infrastructure, as well as potentially providing a greater level of transparency about who is responsible for services.
If this is to happen, however, we believe there would need to be some form of universal service guarantee to ensure that all Australians, regardless of their income or where they live, have access to an adequate level of service.
SACOSS believes that providing such a guarantee of service provision should be legislated as part of any deal for states to access Commonwealth tax bases.