State, territory and federal leaders will meet at a summit this week to discuss, among other things, potential changes to taxes will be discussed.
“We know that in future years our health bills are going to be significant, particularly with looming renal and dialysis issues”, he said.
“The idea of an increase to the Medicare levy is worth pursuing if that can be directly hypothecated into increased funding for Australia’s health system”, he said, confident that the public would support tax increases to pay for health.
The Premier said the talks had not changed his mind on reform to the GST.
Commenting on Baird’s recommendation, Kate Carnell, CEO of the ACCI, said: “It has long been recognized that the GST is a relatively efficient tax and it makes sense for it to do more of the heavy lifting”.
The Federal Opposition has accused Baird and the New South Wales Government for playing into the Prime Minister’s hands, with shadow treasurer Chris Bowen saying the states had been forced to find alternative revenue sources after the federal government stripped billions from future health and education spending.
Speaking at a joint media conference beside Mr Baird in Sydney, Mr Abbott said: “What we have today is a very sensible proposal from the NSW Premier following on from the sensible suggestions from the South Australian Premier”.
“The real issue is no longer who funds what health services, or who carries the greatest share”.
Because nobody is proposing that the tax Australians pay on goods and services would increase 50% overnight without some other parallel changes that would compensate low-income earners, pensioners, and welfare recipients for the extra cost of living.
“Now my view on the GST is very well known”.
“An agreement on uniformity should consider payroll tax, racing tax and road user charges, delivering a more sustainable revenue base by preventing the current race to the bottom between jurisdictions”.
NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley says, “Rather than accepting an increase to the GST, the states should agree on some national uniformity around state taxes – to eliminate competition that decreases revenue for all states”. Waving around numbers about the thousands of dollars in impact on the poorest people in society is facile, and any politician who starts reciting it should be called out for the scaremongering that it is.
Abbott said he wanted to see “the overall tax burden go down” while at the same time having “a more rational arrangement of finances and responsibilities between the commonwealth and the states”. His preference is to raise the Medicare levy but he is open to the idea of raising the GST if the money goes toward health.
All funds raised under the higher GST would be directed to healthcare, compensation or tax cuts – something the Federal government seems keen to offer Australians at the next election.
Mr Weatherill told ABC radio in Adelaide that he supported Mr Baird’s call.