Fix revenue to fill gaping holes in essential services, not raid it for election year tax cuts: ACOSS

As the holiday season approaches, it is imperative the Federal Parliament focuses on securing the public revenue we need to fund important services like the NDIS, healthcare, education, social housing and vital social security payments.

“The priority of this Parliament should be to strengthen public revenues, not raid what we have to fund election year tax cuts,” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.

“Securing the revenue base will be a gift to millions of people who really need assistance and have been living with fear throughout 2017.

“It is unfathomable this government would be talking about more income tax cuts when we are cutting payments for people living in poverty.

“It is hard to see how any further income tax cuts could be funded, or how it would help us fund the vital services we all want and need. The Australian community would simply not accept running down crucial services and programs to fund a new election pitch.

“People don’t want early election platforms. They want their government to provide the supports needed so that every individual can live with dignity and share a future that benefits everyone.

“We don’t want to go down the US route of spiralling inequality and all the social and economic ills that brings. We want our leaders to put the community first and have vision.

“A fair and well-designed increase to the Medicare Levy must be legislated this week as a guarantee to millions of Australians who currently rely or will in future rely on essential services.

“In addition, the so called Welfare ‘Reform’ Bill must be dropped, including widely criticised wasteful policies like random drug testing. This Bill would make things worse for thousands of people already struggling to survive day to day.

“Promising election year income tax cuts at the same time as suggesting we can’t “afford” to address woefully inadequate social security payments for people locked out of paid work altogether is morally wrong and clearly contradictory.

“The public can see that the Government’s current policies would further cut away at our social protections in order to give away more tax cuts. Just last year, the Government spent $4billion in giving away personal income tax cuts to people on higher incomes. This approach has been widely rejected by the community, with more than 70% objecting to more social security cuts in a recent poll.

“Instead, Parliament should be focusing on ways to build the public revenue our nation needs to lift up the living standards of people who have the least, and fund the essential services we all need and rely on, such as disability care, health, social housing, education and social security. This is the end-of-year present our people and nation deserve.”

Media Contact: 0419 626 155