Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) will release its submission for the 2017-18 Budget on 27 February morning. The full submission is available here and the press conference is streamed live via Facebook.

ACOSS will note that Australia spent just 9% of GDP on welfare compared with the OECD average of 12.4%.

Budget cuts proposed by ACOSS include:

  • Applying the Medicare levy surcharge to all high-income earners even if they have private insurance ($4.1bn in 2018-19);
  • Abolishing the private health insurance rebate ($3.5bn in 2018-19);
  • Reforming alcohol excise by taxing wine at $56 a litre of alcohol and cider at $33 a litre ($2.3bn in 2018-19);
  • Abolish fuel tax credits for off-road use, except agriculture ($2bn in 2018-19);
  • Taxing private trusts ($1.5bn in 2018-19);
  • Superannuation contributions reforms ($1.3bn in 2018-19); and
  • Taxing income retained in private companies ($1.2bn in 2018-19).

Revenue raised from the measures could pay for a range of improvements to the welfare safety net, including:

  • increasing the dole and student payments by $54 a week ($1.95bn in 2018-19);
  • restoring community service funding levels, including through the Indigenous advancement strategy ($1.89bn in 2018-19);
  • reform family payments ($1.24bn in 2018-19);
  • increased affordable, accessible dental care ($1.23bn in 2018-19); and
  • establish the affordable housing growth fund ($1bn in 2018-19).

Other notable measures:

  • increasing commonwealth rent assistance ($.8bn in 2018-19); and
  • indexing community services funding to wage movements ($.391bn in 2018-19)

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