The government's announcement that payments and commissions to "high roller" gamblers would be exempt from the GST is an indication of the real agenda behind tax reform, according to the Australian Catholic Social Welfare Commission's national director, Toby O'Connor.
    This concession, introduced by stealth and hidden in the government's amendments to the "A New Tax System" bill (ANTS) highlighted the fact that tax reform was about ensuring those who already had plenty got more, Mr O'Connor said.
    The poor continued to be dealt the bad hand in the tax reform gamble, he added.
    "The government's approach to looking after the interests of the majority of the citizens is now apparent," he said. "They are not interested in exempting food from the GST or increasing the proposed miserly compensation measures. Instead the Australians can eat the crumbs from the gaming tables."
    Such an initiative was in stark contrast to the objective of increasing the common good entrusted to government by the people, Mr O'Connor said. "If this is an example of the government's idea of fine tuning the ANTS package, they must recognise that they risk losing any remaining trust held by the welfare sector to support the tax package.
    "The credibility of the government to introduce a fair tax system is now beyond doubt in the mind of the electorate. Wait with bated breath to see what other aces are up the sleeve for big business and the well-to-do."

2:26pm 4/5/99 / Catholic Communications Adelaide


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