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NFP Voice Included in PM’s Mini Canberra Summit

1 October 2015 at 12:43 pm
Ellie Cooper
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is hosting business, union and community leaders for a mini summit in Canberra on the economy including welfare peak body ACOSS.

Ellie Cooper | 1 October 2015 at 12:43 pm


NFP Voice Included in PM’s Mini Canberra Summit
1 October 2015 at 12:43 pm

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is hosting business, union and community leaders for a mini summit in Canberra on the economy including welfare peak body ACOSS.

The Prime Minister declared the national reform summit held in August was “a rare ­opportunity to achieve consensus on the most pressing economic and social reform issues” facing Australia.

“I want to build on the key priorities of the summit and work towards a practical set of ­reforms that will help to create jobs, drive innovation and stimulate growth,” Turnbull said.

Attending the Canberra mini summit on Thursday was Business Council of Australia President, Catherine Livingstone, and CEO Jennifer Westacott, Australian Council of Trade Unions Secretary, Dave ­Oliver, Australian Council of ­Social Services CEO Cassandra Goldie, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Indus­try CEO, Kate Carnell, Australian Industry Group CEO, Innes Willox,­ ­and Australian Youth Affairs Coalition National Director, Leo Fieldgrass.

ACOSS Deputy CEO, Tessa-Boyd Caine, said the welfare peak body was heartened by the Prime Minister’s indication of more inclusive consultations on economic reform.

“We really value his comments about consensus and a community-focused process,” Caine told AAP.

The Prime Minister told the ABC not to expect any big announcements from his mini economic summit, maintaining any decisions on reform will come from Cabinet.

He said all options were on the table when it came to economic and tax reform and decisions would be made soon, but not unnecessarily rushed without proper consultation.

“Everything is on the table,” Turnbull said.

However peak body, National Shelter, said the mini summit must table housing affordability.

The Not for Profit called on the mini summit to tackle housing affordability including putting reforms to negative gearing and capital gains tax exemptions, previously ruled out, back on the table.

“If Prime Minister Turnbull’s mini summit is intent on addressing reform then changing tax settings to reduce house price inflation must be among the issues to be addressed,” Executive Officer Adrian Pisarski said.

“We currently have a tax system which inflates the market by pitting investors against would be owner occupiers for the same properties but providing the wrong incentives around affordable housing according to National Shelter.

“Ultimately renters become the fall guy in house price inflation. Purchasers have low interest rates as a compensation, investors get tax relief, but rents have consistently outstripped inflation and renters have no compensating fallback.”

Pisarski said housing was the largest single household cost and the burden was pushing people to outer areas away from jobs, education and other opportunities.

“Low income households then face long commutes, expensive transport costs and experience social and economic exclusion,” he said.

"Tax reform can do more to counter the high cost of housing and must be coupled to a new affordable housing supply strategy to improve the economic and social participation of low income households and put a break on rising homelessness.

“If the mini summit is fair dinkum then reforming negative gearing and CGT exemptions must be back on the table despite the Abbott Government having ruled them out.”

Ellie Cooper  |  Journalist  |  @ProBonoNews

Ellie Cooper is a journalist covering the social sector.

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