Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis.
Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis. Adam Hourigan

Gulaptis: GST debate needed 'sooner rather than later'

MEMBER for Clarence Chris Gulaptis says it is time for a discussion about the possibility of raising the rate of GST to 15%.

Mr Gulaptis has backed the call by New South Wales premier Mike Baird to lift the GST rate to raise money for health services, saying future funding for health services is "not going to come out of a magic pudding".

"I think that what Mike has done is open the debate and we certainly need to have this debate, and it should happen sooner rather than late," he told ABC Radio.

"By the end of the 2020s there will be an enormous shortfall in health funding and we need to find that money somewhere.

"This is money that people need every day that go to hospital and there has to be a way of providing the funding."

Mr Baird this week pinpointed health funding as a reason to increase the rate of GST from 10% to 15%.

He said he will put the proposal to a summit of federal, state and territory leaders today.

Mr Gulaptis said the premier's proposal for an increased GST would not affect already exempt items such as fresh food and education, as well as having compensation for low-income earners, and that he thought the community would not be scared by the prospect of a higher tax.

"I think we've been able to deal with the GST as a society since it was implemented 15 years ago and I don't think it's going to be that much of a shock to the system especially when it's going to go to that area that the public most needs, health."

NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley described the premier's plan as "a lazy solution to tax reform that will hurt lower-income families in NSW even more".

"There is nothing good about a regressive tax that places the greatest burden on those who can least afford it," Mr Foley said.

"The real motivation of the Liberals is on display here: while Mike Baird is out there selling the idea of a bump up in the GST, Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey are planning a cut in income tax. It's a regressive tax rise to replace a cut to a progressive tax."

The Council of Social Service of NSW said yesterday 86% of low to middle income families in NSW were concerned about a potential rise in the GST, and 89% were concerned about potentially applying the GST to food.

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