by Alan Thornhill
The sick, disabled and poor would be hit hard, according to critics, if the Audit Commission’s recommendations are accepted.
GetUp, which describes itself as an independent movement to build a progressive Australia said, said its report proposes a tax on the sick.
In a statement, GetUp said: “Charging people for falling ill would be the end of Medicare as we know it.”
The Disability Advocacy Network said the report had led to fears of a triple threat for some people with disability.
The Saint Vincent de Paul Society dismissed the report as “a recipe for inequality.”
And the Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, said the report was just what everyone had expected.
“This is Tony Abbott’s plan to put up taxes,” Mr Shorten said.
“It’s Tony Abbott’s plan for cuts, instead of growth.”
“Worst of all,” GetUp said: “Mr Abbott’s Sick Tax will likely cost our system more than it saves.”
The organisation said in a statement that the recommendations would drive people away from cheaper preventative care – that they could get from their GP – towards more expensive hospital care as untreated illnesses become more severe.”
Mary Mallett, CEO of Disability Advocacy said “people with disability should not have to disproportionately bear the pain of the savings the government wants to find.”
She said they already face many challenges in their daily lives.
The Chief Executive of the Saint Vincent de Paul’s national council Dr John Falzon said “We stand in solidarity with the people who carry the greatest burden of inequality.
“Therefore we reject the US path of further entrenching inequality.”
Mr Shorten condemned the Audit Commission’s report, describing it as the Prime Minister’s plan to make sure hard-working families gets less, while millionaires get more.
“Tony Abbott will turn the most basic things in life – education, health care, support for older Australians – into a massive everyday struggle for families,” Mr Shorten said.
by Alan Thornhill
The Treasurer, Joe Hockey, says the Audit Commission’s report shows that the spending trajectory we inherited from Labor is unsustainable and needs to be addressed.
He said the government can’t keep spending more than it raises in revenue.
“That is why we made a commitment before the last election to repair the Budget,” Mr Hockey said.
“That is why we asked the National Commission of Audit to identify opportunities for structural reforms to help ensure the Government can live within its means.
“Specifically, the National Commission of Audit was asked to provide advice on how best to ensure Government spending is as efficient and as well targeted as possible.”
But he added: “The National Commission of Audit report is not a report by the Government but a report to the Government.
“It is one important input to the Government’s considerations for the upcoming Budget.
“While the Government will not be providing an immediate response to each recommendation, our response to the National Commission of Audit Report will be our first Budget on 13 May,” Mr Hockey said.
by Alan Thornhill
The Commission of Audit has recommended a radical overhaul of financial relations between the Commonwealth and the States, to cut what it calls expensive duplication.
In a report released today, the Commission also recommends that the States be given the right to impose income taxes.
It also urges the Federal government to curb a wide range of welfare spending and says it should – very gradually – raise the pension age to 70.
Australia Post would be privatised – and several government agencies scrapped – if its report is accepted.
The ABC sums up the report saying the Commission has recommended a raft of potentially explosive spending cuts to government services and payments.
It says family payments, child care, health care, education, unemployment and pension payments, aged care and the National Disability Insurance Scheme are all among those areas in the firing line.
The report also recommends swinging cuts to industry assistance and the public service and a radical shake-up of the way all governments tax and do business.
There would be a $15 fee to visit a doctor and Australians would pay more for medicines.
Australians will see at least the first stage of the government’s response to this report when the Treasurer, Joe Hockey, brings his first budget into Parliament on May 15.
Weathercoast by Alan Thornhill
A novel on the murder of seven young Anglican Christian Brothers in the Solomon Islands.
Available now on the iTunes store.
Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
Private Briefing is updated daily with Australian personal finance news, analysis, and commentary.
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