ACOSS Responds to Henry Tax Review
3 May 2010 at 4:01 pm
Australia’s welfare umbrella organisation, the Australian Council of Social Services, ACOSS says it’s disappointed that the Rudd Government has ruled out a number of its key recommendations of the Henry Tax Review
ACOSS has responded to four key areas in the Henry Report which covers both the tax and transfer system.
ACOSS CEO, Clare Martin says hard decisions need to be taken to build a strong economy for the future and support services for the community and in not taking some of those tough decisions, Government has missed an important opportunity.
Martin says that for over a decade ACOSS has advocated replacing the flat 15% tax on super contributions with a simpler, fairer tax rebate and she is pleased the Henry report has adopted this proposal.
She says the Government has taken an initial step forward to make it easier for low-income Australians to save for retirement with its $500 annual contribution for workers up to $37,000.
However she says the increase in the threshold in super contributions to $50,000 is a step backwards because it restores tax breaks for high-income earners.
Martin has urged the Government to implement these Henry recommendations for a super system that helps low-income Australians save for retirement.
ACOSS says housing affordability is a critical issue for all Australians, especially those on low incomes.
Clare Martin says presently the tax system inflates housing prices while the social security system does not provide adequate assistance for people struggling in the private rental market.
She says the Henry Report proposals would help alleviate the housing affordability crisis through increases in private rent assistance.
She says proposals to reduce rental support for public tenants are concerning but these have been ruled out by Government.
Martin says the government’s decision not to adopt key changes to tax treatment of housing including land tax, are disappointing because they benefit people with housing wealth at the expense of middle and lower income people trying to break into the market.
ACOSS has welcomed proposals to reduce the payment gap by increasing the single Newstart rate and indexing it above CPI. and has argued that this would require an increase in the single Newstart allowance of $45 per week, increasing it from $231 to $276 per week.
ACOSS has proposed this for the upcoming Federal Budget.
ACOSS says that while there have been strong recommendations from both the Henry Report and Productivity Commission to establish a national Charities Commission to oversee Not for Profit regulation, it is disappointed this has not yet been adopted by Government.
Martin says a Charities Commission is supported by the sector and she strongly urges Government to establish one.
Overall martin says ACOSS welcomes the important assurance from Government it will not support any changes to tax concessions that will harm community services organisations.