Colin Brinsden, AAP Economics Correspondent
(Australian Associated Press)
Chartered accountants are urging Treasurer Scott Morrison to explain a hoped-for budget surplus with something more plausible than just bracket creep and a lift in tax revenue from mining.
In its 2017/18 budget submission, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand calls for a 10-year budget framework, saying the present four-year estimates no longer pass muster.
“The community deserves a frank picture of the difficulties our country will face over the next 10 years, and rightly expects major political parties to use the budget sitting to present policies on how these challenges will be addressed,” spokesman Rob Ward said on Monday.
Mr Morrison will hand down the budget on May 9.
In his mid-year budget review released just prior to Christmas the treasurer stuck to his forecast of a return to surplus in 2020/21.
Mr Ward believes tax reform remains “unfinished business” and the GST needs to be part of that agenda, while the treasurer needs to reconsider his position on the 50 per cent capital gains tax discount.
In a separate submission, the Rural Doctors Association calls for increased funding to implement a program to train the next generation of rural doctors, a key election promise from the coalition.
“The government must consider expenditure on health, particularly primary health care, as an investment in the future wellbeing and productivity of all Australians, not a cost to be minimised,” president Ewen McPhee says.
He also urged removal of the indexation freeze on Medicare rebates, arguing it continued to negatively impact on the viability of rural and remote practices.
The Australia Medical Association in its submission released over the weekend also calls for an end to the freeze, while also bringing up the issue of the Medicare levy, saying Australians in the past were willing to consider an increase in the impost when used for specific purposes.
The levy was last increased under Labor to fund the national disability insurance scheme, but shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh isn’t keen on a further increase.
“Just jacking up taxes doesn’t make the economy grow any faster … it’s a lazy option,” Dr Leigh told Sky News.
Liberal backbencher Julian Lesser played down any proposal to change to the levy.
“We will see between now and budget day every interest group in Australia putting forward proposals,” he said.