Baird makes GST pitch to help health
News South Wales Premier Mike Baird has made his pitch in the much-awaited yet much-avoided GST conversation, arguing the rate should be increased to 15 per cent to pay for better healthcare.
Mr Baird will use his hosting role at a state and federal leaders retreat this week to push his line on GST reform to stop the nation from “tumbling off a fiscal cliff,” News Corp reports.
Mr Baird described his plan in a video posted on Twitter, accessible below.
Modelling from Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ) suggests to move would raise $256 billion over four years.
Fairfax reports say the CAANZ review found the Federal Government could secure the GST increase in exchange for $171 billion in permanent tax cuts, with increases to welfare and the aged pension as compensation.
Mr Baird has gone further, suggesting those with incomes under $100,000 would need compensating too.
But federal Treasurer Joe Hockey and some of Mr Baird’s state counterparts will make it a hard sell.
Mr Hockey said it was “game over” for tax reform late last week, when Victoria’s Labor Premier Daniel Andrews pledged to oppose any GST increase.
South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill is against it too, and West Australian Premier Colin Barnett maintains that he would only support a GST increase if his state saw a larger slice.
Any big GST changes would need unanimous support.
“The GST has not been touched since it was implemented 15 years ago. It is a highly efficient tax that is difficult to avoid,” The Australian quotes Mr Baird as saying.
“While it is a regressive tax, we can take measures, through the income tax and welfare system, to ensure that any changes do not make life harder for struggling families and the vulnerable. Quite the opposite — they would pay no additional tax, but receive the benefits of improved healthcare.
“The fiscal reality is that all the resources of the commonwealth and the states, pooled together, can no longer fund health services to our current standard.”
State and territory leaders are meeting with Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Sydney on Wednesday, and again at a Council of Australian Governments forum on Thursday.
If our health system is to survive, we need our political leaders to bring solutions to the table. I'll go first. https://t.co/JiAO5eeFKF— Mike Baird (@mikebairdMP) July 19, 2015