Toddler learning to walk while holding father's hands

The Australian Council of Social Service has cautioned that the upcoming Federal Budget must continue to strengthen public revenue to secure vital community services and supports into the future, rather than squander billions on unjustified tax cuts.

In releasing the ACOSS Budget Priorities Statement, CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said, “It would be a big mistake for this government to press ahead with personal and corporate tax cuts when we’re facing major funding shortfalls in vital areas such as the NDIS, health, needs-based schools funding, and action to reduce poverty.

“It would be unconscionable to pursue tax cuts at the same time as slashing essential benefits and services affecting people on the lowest incomes, particularly when the budget is still in a weak position.

“We cannot afford to repeat the past mistake of handing out unfunded tax cuts in the run-up to elections. The eight annual tax cuts from 2003 to 2011 largely created the budget problems the government now faces. We all know that tax cuts today mean cuts to essential services down the track.

“Income tax is not the main pressure on household budgets. The majority of personal taxpayers are paying less income tax now than they would have paid under the 2003 tax scales before all those tax cuts were given.

“The biggest increase in the cost of living over the last six years has come, not from taxes, but out-of-pocket payments for essential services. From 2011 to 2017, health care costs for households rose by 40%, child care rose by 57%, schools by 37% and dental care by 14%. The CPI rose by just 11% over this period. A ‘sandwich and milkshake’ tax cut isn’t the answer to these pressures on household budgets.”

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pdfDownload the ACOSS Budget Priorities Statement

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