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Health Care    CATHOLIC HEALTH BODY SAYS GST HITTING ELDERLY HARD
Thousands of elderly pensioners were being slugged GST on home care following the federal government's refusal to subsidise services, the Executive Director of Catholic Health Australia said yesterday.
    The ruling, on which Aged Care Minister Bronwyn Bishop has refused to back down, was hitting more than 100,000 vulnerable people while other subsidised services were GST free, Catholic Health Australia's Francis Sullivan said.
    "Where a service is going to be provided that isn't provided by a Commonwealth-funded program, then the GST will be applied," Mr Sullivan told ABC Radio.
    "This is an example where frail and disadvantaged people are going to be impacted by the GST and that impact has been grossly understated.
    "If the government is going to make the system fair, this is an area in which they are going to have to change it yet again."
    The government is under pressure to ease the anomaly under which elderly or frail pensioners are being forced to fork out GST for help with cooking, cleaning and laundry.
    A spokeswoman for Mrs Bishop said the matter had been referred to Treasurer Peter Costello for consideration and the ABC reported at least one senior backbencher was outraged by the decision.
   
AAP
   
11 July 00



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