ACOSS hands the Government its $9.5 billion savings plan

ACOSS has handed the Government a plan to save around $9.5 billion a year.

The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) has handed the Government a plan to save around $9.5 billion a year, in the hope that some funds will be redirected towards social services.

In its pre-budget submission handed over yesterday, the ACOSS proposals include getting rid of private health insurance rebates and pulling back on negative gearing incentives.

The social welfare group has called on the Government to limit negative gearing deductions for property investors and shares so the money saved can instead be used to build affordable housing.

It also recommends removing the “wasteful” 30 per cent private health insurance rebate which, if scrapped, could raise around $6.6 billion to go towards public hospitals and community health services.

Other recommendations include:

  • private trusts to be taxed similarly to companies, with any retained income in private companies to be taxed at top rates
  • reining in “inequitable” capital gains tax concessions for small business
  • tightening the tax treatment of superannuation fund earnings to include those aged 65 and over to pay income tax if they can afford to
  • monies raised could also go towards raising unemployment benefits, which is currently at $37 a day
  • calls for funds currently spent on the “ineffective” work for the dole program to be better spent elsewhere.

ACOSS Chief Executive Cassandra Goldie urged the Government “to be courageous” and take a long, hard look at tax concessions, and not be swayed by those with vested interests who may oppose them.

ACOSS estimates that, should the proposed changes be put in place, they would save the budget $9.5 billion a year over the next financial year.


What do you think of the ACOSS proposal? Do you have any better ideas for raising revenue?



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    old-age worker
    17th Feb 2016
    Good on ACOSS for having a go, and showing us where we SHOULD be spending and saving.
    The Mighty Rich will oppose it. Generate some anti, from a (Right Wing) "Think Tank", which will get all the Mess Media scrambling.
    Always the same...
    Look at the way the "think Tanks" have poo-pooed Labor's plans.
    17th Feb 2016
    It's been fairly obvious to people who watch an election campaign. Very little of anything from Labor or anti-government MPs ever makes the news. You have to wonder about that. But then you see that the big end of town owns nearly all of the media outlets and sanitises information to its Liberal Party flavour.
    17th Feb 2016
    Good article leon.
    Goldie is an advocate of supporting bludgers who tear the country down and I have never supported that. Some of her ideas are good but some are quite toxic too.
    Funny how Goldie has FORGOTTEN that multinationals are using schemes to avoid paying tax in Australia and how rich Australians have many overseas Tax Havens to avoid their responsibilities in the nation THEY LIVE IN. So why have the 2 biggest potential tax earners suddenly disappeared off the radar?????????
    18th Feb 2016
    Probably something to do with the fact our PM is one of those offenders.
    18th Feb 2016
    mick, if we vote for the likes of Nick Zenophon how will that result in reducing your "tax Havens?" Are his 12 houses negatively geared? Isnt he the guy with all the power?
    17th Feb 2016
    Please acknowledge that pensions, welfare, unemployment benefits and schemes to help them are all made possible by those who work hard and pay their taxes.
    17th Feb 2016
    There's no denying that. So what is your point?
    17th Feb 2016
    We must remember too, those on pensions, also worked hard, and paid their taxes. In earlier days, those taxes went for things that are no longer available to those same people now. It is completely unfair to talk about retired people who have worked all their lives as though they were intentionally leaning on the state. It is completely offensive. Prices and wages have gone up by huge amounts since some people retired. I worked hard and paid taxes and did my spouse, we saved and did without, and now that we are retired our income does not go as far as it did once upon a time, but it is now fixed. This kind of talk is exactly what the current government wants to see, one sector blaming the other sector instead of the government for their difficulties.
    17th Feb 2016
    ABSOLUTELY Linda !! We MUST nip it (denigrating retired/Seniors) in the bud !! SOME recent 'generations' seem to have a belief that the retired/Seniors never contributed to their welfare/lifestyle etc by working and paying taxes for decades. Must avoid this crappy misconception from breeding, possibly to the Governments delight :(
    17th Feb 2016
    p.s. I refer to them enjoying protection (ADF) education assistance for 12 to 16/18 years etc etc paid for by those now retired but who paid their taxes during those periods :)

    17th Feb 2016
    Pay the politicians what they are REALLY worth and you will see a savings of the above figure X 3!
    17th Feb 2016
    Maybe fair but only a drop in the bucket. Read my post above. That is where the real money but this government is tied to the hip with those who are the problem and Labor is too gutless to take on the advertising billions of the rich. They should. And the media Laws. That would sort out the extreme bias which exists at present. Funny but Abbott skited on Air about Labor not being in power as long as LNP governments. Poor old dim wit Tony obviously forgot that the casino always wins and that his mates are working hard to keep that Labor Party out lest it increase the tax rates of the poor rich.....
    Sorry to beat a drum. It is what it is.
    Soapbox Diva
    17th Feb 2016
    Stop paying all those pensions, allowances for offices and staff, travel allowances, etc. to all ex-politicians. Let them live off their (ample) super or find another job like ordinary Australians have to do when they retire or are made redundant (read: voted out of office for politicians). Let them live in the real world.
    17th Feb 2016
    Totally agree Soapbox Diva. That is where the money is being wasted. They do have a generous super, let them live off that like everybody else. All those perks are an absolute waste of money, especially when the government are trying to cut benefits to bolster up the needed coffers. Also, they should put a curb on Chinese immigrants coming here , loaded with cash and pushing up the prices of houses at auctions, and to hold auctions in Mandarin, that is a bloody disgrace to the Australian country and Australians.And as for Ray White opening up a shop in China, they should be boycotted here!!. And the RE agents are of no help. The majority are only thinking of their wallets, which is of no help to young Aussie couples who want their own home. It used to be the Australian dream, unfortunately, that's all it is now.
    17th Feb 2016
    Good luck getting into a hospital if 30% rebate is crapped on Health Insurance.

    Just love the bit about people paying tax if they "can afford to".

    Sorry don't see any of this list even being considered.
    17th Feb 2016
    Neither do I Bonny.

    The savings that they will make by scrapping the rebate on health insurance will all be needed to shore up the public system when everyone leaves private health.

    The savings you make through property investments are largely reclaimed by the government when you sell the property and pay your capital gains tax.

    Give more to the unemployed ??? Give me a break. Unemployment should be stopped after six to twelve months duration not increased to subsidise a live style. Get a job any job.

    Hit the big end of town and stop them taking their profits off shore
    Then there would be more than enough to get this country out of its debt.
    18th Feb 2016
    "'Unemployment should be stopped after six to twelve months duration not increased to subsidise a live style. Get a job any job."

    I'm absolutely I'm favour of urging people to work and giving them incentives to work. I favour work for the dole schemes (properly run) and compulsory military service for young unemployed. But I think we need to adjust to the reality that there are hundreds of thousands less job than jobless - and THAT'S NOT the fault of the jobless. The technological revolution has reduced the need for work, and instead of distributing the benefits fairly by reducing working hours and legislating that people retire younger, and encouraging full-time parenting by one partner, while the other works, the government has done the exact opposite. Of course there will be people unemployed long term as a result. It's rather harsh to blame and punish the victims of society's mistakes!

    Change the way society is structured to reduce working hours, encourage one parent to stay home with young kids (and make it financially viable to do so), and promote earlier retirement, while encouraging retirees to volunteer their time to charities and their knowledge and experience to supporting struggling business ventures, and we will be paying out no more but paying it to the deserving and giving the disadvantaged a chance to break into the job market and find a niche for themselves.

    Introduce compulsory military service for the young unemployed and compulsory charity and community work for all unemployed on benefits, and reduce the obstacles to employment for the less well educated but skilled and competent, experienced folk who don't have fancy pieces of paper.

    Unemployment is society's problem, and hitting out at the victims of it is disgracefully selfish, arrogant and cruel.

    Totally agree, however, about taxing the big end of town. It's way past time THEY paid their dues.
    18th Feb 2016
    I also love the bit about people paying tax if they "can afford to".
    I am paying tax and I cannot afford it. So does that mean I will not pay tax under this new plan?
    Golden Oldie
    17th Feb 2016
    The rebate on health insurance was brought in to encourage people to take out health insurance to take the strain off the public hospitals. To take out health insurance after the age of 30 gets more expensive as you get older, so this, and having to pay in some instances an enormous gap, discourages people to take out health insurance. Taking away the rebate may cause more people tp drop out of health insurance if they cannot afford it. More stress on public hospitals, and again, another attack on the lower income families. Why don't they stop the excessive increases each year, and the profits being made by the private health insurance companies, of which Medibank Private is now one of them.
    19th Feb 2016
    I don't believe it was ever about taking stress off the public system.

    It was about destroying the medicare universal health scheme and providing profit for the insurance industry.

    If the government was concerned about providing an efficient health service there would be dozens of new public hospitals to provide for the millions of new immigrants the government has flooded the country with in the past 15 years.

    No new hospitals where I live but the population is now 30% higher.

    There have been a few private hospitals built though and I bet government grants and tax breaks ensured plenty of tax dollars propped up those corporations.

    The schools are crammed full as well as there has only been 1 new high and 2 primary to cater for the huge increase in housing estates.
    17th Feb 2016
    yeah accoss brilliant not... most pensioners are flat out paying private health cover.. get rid of that and it will become unaffordable plus the 6 to 8 percent it goes up every year.. there will be a rush for the door and more pressure on the public health system...already the 40 percent pensioners had after turning 70 has whittled away to 37 percent....rowley f
    17th Feb 2016
    I really think the Government should be looking into the anomalies existing in the rules relating to the rent assistance given to Over 55's Retirement as opposed to Retirement Villages. The requirement is that the dwelling can be moved. My experience is that many of the new Villages that come under that legislation are no different that those in "Retirement Villages", and many are quite expensive. I feel this assistance was meant for people with a much lower asset base. Big savings there I would think.
    17th Feb 2016
    Here goes ACOSS again trying to drag everyone down to a lowest common denominator.

    This is the mob, and they are only an advocacy group, but a dangerous one, that convinced Hockey to take the gutless way out of tax reform by changing the pension taper rate.
    The boffins still have not woken up that this will actually increase government expenditure. So onto the latest nonsensical idea.
    Does Dr. Goldie really think that people will not walk away from already overpriced private health insurance if faced with a 30% increase. Where is her evidence?
    Does she really think the already overstretched public system will cope with a significantly increased customer base that would increase immediately?
    Does she really think that governments will respond with a massive injection of funds to build the new hospitals and support systems such as pathology and radiography that will be required?
    Has she considered the time frame in years before those services came on line?
    What consideration has been given to the fact that private hospitals, generally funded or supported through private health funds, will be less in demand and that will subsequently effect the people that build them and supply goods, the staff such as cleaning and catering and all the other ancillary services, the administrative staff that support the private funds and hospitals.
    We have about 8 high quality private hospitals within a 50km. radius and 2 overstretched major public hospitals. 8 into 2 does not go.

    Where is the supporting documentation and modelling to show the nett benefits of such a plan.

    Bottom line here is that is will put more people on the scrap heap. Those people will then need support of the services that ACOSS advocate for.
    The more people requiring these services mean that ACOSS will claim they represent more of the population.

    It seems to me to be an ill conceived plan and a grand exercise of empire building.
    And all this neglects the impact on the patients who will bear the brunt.

    I despair at the quality of information coming from these lobby groups.

    Carnell and Goldie trying to achieve the same goal from opposite ends of the spectrum.
    17th Feb 2016
    Peedee excellent points, agree with your thoughts about these two ladies and why they have these stupid views.

    Also agree your point about ACOSS/Goldie re Pension changes, however it wasnt just them that influenced the Govt, there were others actively involved, and then the Greens just put the icing on the Cake!!
    17th Feb 2016
    Dead right Rodent. Xenophon was in there as well. Watch out for that guy, he is right into cutting penalty rates for the weekend workers
    17th Feb 2016
    Agree peedee, AGREE !! It does suck :(
    17th Feb 2016
    If our gov't stopped giving our money away and helped the Aussie populate our Country so the Mums could afford to stay home and raise kids we wouldn't have all this crime and garbage coming to our land. Our Aussie is being destroyed people, time for some new blood in parliament to stop all the corruption.
    17th Feb 2016
    For me, taking pot shots at one sector, to improve the lot of another is counter productive. We are in this mess because various governments did not look ahead, made election bribe decisions, wasted money paid by citizens and have currently wasted piles and piles of money while crying poor because of their particular view and spin. The game has certainly changed. We have a government in chaos that has made a huge mess and are making bad decisions right left and centre. They have unsettled almost everyone in the country re talk of what they might do. Then they wonder why the economy is contracting. They are very well paid and we as citizens expect them to be competent to do what governments are supposed to do for their citizens who pay their wages and vote them into office. Don't forget or get pulled into division. How much money have they wasted propping up coal and mining, on failed spin schemes, on the broadband mess, and then the fact of losing so many ministers because of what at least looks like corruption. They have taken the guts out of our manufacturing, have no idea what to do to help the economy except dig holes in the ground and spoil water supply.
    17th Feb 2016
    removing the 30% rebate
    will force many to move out of private health insurance.

    17th Feb 2016
    More brainwaves from ACOSS that will cripple the economy. Discourage folk from taking out health insurance and watch the public health bill skyrocket. DUMB! Some of the other ideas MAY be worthy of further consideration, but which retirees do they think ''can afford to pay tax''? No doubt the poor buggers whose incomes their last brainwave were slashed to around HALF the pension rate. Yep, take a bit more of their hard-won savings and grind them into poverty. Can't have people enjoying a reward for effort, or responding to incentives. Oh no! Take from the hard workers to give more to the unemployed, and then wonder why there's more of them!
    17th Feb 2016
    Think carefully about this. How should we define "those aged 65 and pay income tax if they can afford to". I'm over 65 and I've paid enough tax. Still paying it in a number of ways as well as GST on most purchases.
    My SMSF is all I've got to live on and I'd resent it most forcefully if I was forced to pay more tax just to support ACOSS's clientele of welfare dependents. Damned if I'm going to be drained of more of my savings when there's no way of knowing if I'll live past the date my funds are depleted.
    So, how do you really feel about this?
    17th Feb 2016
    A businesse's retained profits are generally not disbursed due to limited cash flow, particularly by a business in growth phase. Adding a top marginal rate of tax will have these businesses borrowing just to pay the tax. Why do these left wing organisations think that the fix is to whack business with an extra tax? Do they think it will generate more jobs?
    19th Feb 2016
    They have never had to run a business Frank. Their whole life has been at the government teat. I have absolutely no time for ACOSS.

    A percentage of very hard working people now retired will be forced into poverty due to ACOSS interference. It was very evident then that ACOSS was an anti worker organisation entirely catering to their own advancement.
    17th Feb 2016
    Acoss has lost its way, and Dr Goldie should read the organisations charter. The views being proposed are a far cry from the mission statement, and its inclusiveness for all. I'd say that like a lot of not for profit, it's just a big business. Also, the tax breaks given to not for profit sector should be pared back esp their entertainment budgets and salary sacrifice arrangements
    17th Feb 2016
    Dropping the 30% private health rebate will make private health insurance unaffordable for those pensioners who still struggle to retain the health insurance - the end result will be a mass exodus of low-income people who are just managing to maintain their private cover, and sending them onto the public health system - no gain there at all! Means-testing the 30% rebate would be much smarter.
    17th Feb 2016
    Changing negative gearing will only reduce the number of rental properties available for renters. Who in their right mind would bear all the costs of purchasing a rental property if the interest paid on their debt was not tax deductible. No other business can be operated this way. Why would anyone invest in property which is costing them more than the rent they receive and hope that it will eventually be sold for a profit which will cover the loss of income. After all rental investors also pay capital gains tax on any profit they receive on sale of the property. The majority of rental investors are not big business but private individuals with one or two properties.
    17th Feb 2016
    The rich would. Those people with enough money to have enough equity in order to positively gear their res property investment. Problem is the rich are the small players in the res property market.
    Ever notice that you cannot find a res property trust? That's because there aren't any.
    Good post pjvixen!
    17th Feb 2016
    Australia has far too many services and ACOSS is a group that only feathers its own bed. Better that Governments scrap: All child benfits/tax concessions; The PBS in its entirety; Limit unemployment benefits to 6 months; Make all Charities pay tax ; Childcare rebates; Everyone to pay the medicare levy, no bulk billing.
    17th Feb 2016
    You won't see too many changes to negative gearing incentives or family trusts by the LNP because the vast majority of the people sitting in Canberra would be affected.
    Not Senile Yet!
    17th Feb 2016
    This has nothing to do with the rich versus the poor!
    As across clearly subsidies that are clearly no longer appropriate.....need a long hard justify money being miss money.......yours & my tax.....that is propping up those that clearly do not need it compared to those who are on welfare not bludging....but simply cannot find work!!!!
    17th Feb 2016
    Perhaps those on unemployment could be more proactive in looking for work rather than waiting for a job to come to them. They should get out there, learn new skills and make themselves more employable.
    17th Feb 2016
    Have you been to a Centrelink "bureau" in recent times.? It is a real eye opener. It is quite obvious to see why so many people cannot find work.
    17th Feb 2016
    All suggestions are welcome, for consideration. However Turnbull has already quashed the idea of a complete review of tax for reform and so the time and effort made on the White Paper consultations was a waste. A complete review of the tax system has to include GST. Government backbenchers are scared of losing their cushy jobs and Shorten wants to make sure it is a political decision. Any subsequent tax reform will be political decisions, which will not be the best decisions. One really has to wonder sometimes whether this country is worth your time and effort.
    18th Feb 2016
    Crimmo, it's all too hard. Why would a sitting PM risk taking steps toward real and complete reform of our tax system? When the reward is mountains of abuse, bad press and a shortened career?
    Chris B T
    18th Feb 2016
    Shorton's Career!
    17th Feb 2016
    Seriously, cut the rebate for private health insurance!?
    Do these people realise that the public health system is in chaos.
    Cut the rebate and what...half (?) the people in private get out and go on the public system?? those two year waiting lists would go out to five years!
    Do the people advocating eliminating the rebate think that everyone will just stay in private without the rebate and this $6.6b is just easy money to be taken?
    The public health system would completely break down!
    Think about it.
    Nothing is that simple.
    21st Feb 2016
    I have never believed that private health insurance takes the pressure off the public system. If the public system was properly funded as it should be, there wouldn't be any need for a private system. As a couple on the full age pension, we don't pay the Medicare levy, but we pay nearly $100 a month for Medibank Private ancillaries. I would far and away rather see this money going into the Medicare coffers, where it would be used purely for health spending instead of used partially to make profits for the rich, but there is no mechanism for this to happen.
    18th Feb 2016
    I think it's time for a little bit of Jeff Kennett's tough to be kind. He had Victorian home owners paying a flat $100 homeowner's levy for several years until he was able to get Victoria out of the basket case it was in after Joan Kirner's government left the state bordering on bankruptcy. $100 is affordable. It's about $2 a week.
    18th Feb 2016
    18th Feb 2016
    Neither Party seems willing to force the Multinationals to pay their fair share of tax /
    18th Feb 2016
    And what about all those so-called low income earners and many welfare recipients, when are they going to pay their fair share?

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