In responding to the Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s National Press Club speech today, ACOSS has urged the Government to develop a national jobs plan with unemployment expected to increase to as much as 6.5% mid-year and the number of people unemployed long-term rising by more than 12% in the past 12 months.
“It’s hard to see how a 1.5% tax cut to small business will help address the current revenue problem facing our Federal Budget or help those disadvantaged in the labour market to get a job,” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.
“What we need is a comprehensive employment strategy not more ad hoc decisions, especially one to cut taxes at a time when we are aiming to restore revenue and are about to begin a review of the tax system.
“ACOSS welcomes the Prime Ministers’ commitment to ensure the upcoming white paper tax review process will be open and constructive. If we have learned anything from recent events, it is the importance of including the community in the process of setting our national priorities.
“Sadly both sides of politics have failed, not only to explain government decisions but more importantly, to listen and include the community before big decisions are made.
“The community does understand that as a nation we face a challenge to fund important services, such as health, education, income support and aged care into the future. But as recent events show, the public will not tolerate ad hoc decisions being made with little or no consultation or discussion. They also will not accept policies which hurt those with the least, while preserving the privileges enjoyed by those with the most.
“We look forward to the Government consulting widely in developing a new families package to ensure it delivers benefits for families most in need of assistance – low income families and the children.
“The package should be designed to deliver improved educational outcomes for all children, including those experiencing disadvantage, as well as improved workforce participation for women.
“We also seek clarity on the status of the 1.5% company levy, originally for the purpose of funding the Government’s amended Paid Parental Leave Scheme. We urge the Government to include the future of the levy in discussions about the families package.
“ACOSS stands ready to partner with the Government and other stakeholders in the development of the families package, and in other major structural reform processes, including tax reform.
“Engagement processes need to be more open and transparent and enable communities to inform, not just be informed about, the policies that will affect Australia’s health and wellbeing into the future,” Dr Goldie said.
Media Contact: Fernando de Freitas 0419 626 155