Aus­tralia’s PM yet to be con­vinced of GST in­crease ben­e­fit

The Pak Banker - - MARKETS/SPORTS -

SYD­NEY: Aus­tralian Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull said he's yet to be con­vinced of the ben­e­fits of in­creas­ing the goods and ser­vices tax un­less it boosts eco­nomic growth and em­ploy­ment. The govern­ment, which is ex­pected to hold an elec­tion in the se­cond half of the year, is look­ing at an over­haul of the tax­a­tion sys­tem, in­clud­ing a po­ten­tial in­crease in the GST to 15 per­cent from 10 per­cent.

"What­ever poli­cies we take as part of our tax re­form pack­age will be ones that we are sat­is­fied will de­liver the growth and jobs out­come that we want," the Lib­eral Party leader told the ABC "In­sid­ers" pro­gram on Sun­day. An in­crease in the GST by it­self would be neg­a­tive be­cause the ques­tion re­mains what you do with the pro­ceeds, Turn­bull said. He said he wants taxes as a per­cent­age of Aus­tralia's gross do­mes­tic prod­uct to come down. Turn­bull re­ferred to the ar­gu­ment that says the ex­tra A$30 bil­lion ($21.2 bil­lion) in rev­enue gen­er­ated by a higher GST could be used to re­duce per­sonal in­come taxes once peo­ple on low in­comes and on wel­fare have been com­pen­sated. "It's not a ques­tion of pol­i­tics here," he said. "At this stage I re­main to be con­vinced, to be per­suaded, that a tax mix switch of that kind would ac­tu­ally give us the eco­nomic ben­e­fit that you'd want in or­der to do such a big thing." Thor­ough Ex­am­i­na­tion A sur­vey by Newspoll pub­lished in the Aus­tralian news­pa­per on Feb. 1 showed that 54 per­cent of Aus­tralians op­pose the GST be­ing raised to 15 per­cent as part of a re­form pack­age that may also in­clude in­come tax cuts. The op­po­si­tion La­bor Party has said it will fight any changes to the tax, say­ing an in­crease would hurt lower-in­come Aus­tralians.

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