July 23 Edition
Budget Night was May 12, 2015. We now await economic and activity data reporting to see how successful it was.
Parliament has risen so we are in for a few quiet weeks.
There is a real sense that we are now seeing policy paralysis about balancing the Budget from all sides. It really is getting pretty sad.
Here is some other of the recent other news and analysis.
General Budget Issues.
Date July 15, 2015
The GST's too hard, super and negative gearing are off the table - seems like property tax is the last hope. But don't hold your breath.
Hear hear to this: "Surely it is not beyond the capacity of us as a country to have a sensible, mature debate about long-term tax reform more generally."
Treasurer Joe Hockey has rarely uttered a more responsible statement, although he has hinted before that he's up for tax reform in the interests of productivity and budget sustainability.
Now Mr Hockey should just try convincing his Prime Minister.
Hear hear to this from Mr Hockey as well: "Australians are prepared to support tax reform that is good for the economy and fair for the country."
- The Australian
- July 13, 2015
Rivals joining forces can precipitate effective change, which is why The Australian and The Australian Financial Review have come together to lead a one-day economic summit in Sydney next month to attempt to reach a consensus approach to tackling the major challenges facing the national economy and the federal budget. The National Reform Summit will draw together about 80 delegates including business, trade union, community and policy leaders. Its goals will be to rise above the partisan politics that have stymied crucial fiscal reform and find common ground on economic and social policy reforms to improve the quality of life of present and future generations. The co-ordinators, former federal Labor trade minister Craig Emerson and the Menzies Research Centre director Nick Cater will bring knowledge, experience and different viewpoints to the event.
The usefulness of opening up economic discussion was demonstrated by the Hawke government’s National Economic Summit in 1983 and its Tax Summit in 1985. Those events, like the Accords with the trade union movement that tied wage improvements to productivity increases, helped modernise the economy and position the economy for decades of growth. The policy discussions at the time showed Australians why economic reform was needed if we were to maintain and improve prosperity in a more competitive world.
Treasurer Joe Hockey says Australia's economy has not been affected by China's stockmarket crash or Greece's financial bailout
Date July 14, 2015
Treasurer Joe Hockey says Australia's economy has not been affected by the huge losses on China's sharemarket or the threat of Greece leaving the eurozone, despite billions of dollars being wiped from the value of Australian shares in recent weeks.
He said he welcomed the bailout agreement between Greek and European leaders that will keep Greece in the eurozone, but which economists warn will worsen Greece's economic depression – where unemployment is already at 26 per cent.
Speaking on Tuesday, Mr Hockey said the government's economic plan was still "on track" because the impact of Greece's sovereign default and bank shutdowns on Australia's economy had been "minimal," while China's stockmarket crash had not been severe enough to convince Treasury to change their forecasts for Chinese growth in the Commonwealth budget.
at 12:22 pm on July 16, 2015
After admitting in May that superannuation reform was inevitable in the interests of budget sustainability, Treasurer Joe Hockey has once again ruled-out ever changing superannuation tax settings. From Money Management:
Addressing a PWC Tax Reform Forum, Hockey said that not only was the Government going to stick to its promise not to “engage in adverse or unexpected changes to superannuation in our first term of government” but also stated “we have no plans to increase superannuation taxes into the future”.
“During a period of low global interest rates, which can have a significant impact on superannuation balances — plus the volatility in the world economy — why would a government want to increase taxes on super?”…
Date July 17, 2015 - 1:37AM
Nine out of 10 suburbs worst affected by the combined impact of the Abbott government's two budgets are in Labor-held seats.
New analysis has for the first time shown the impact of Treasurer Joe Hockey's fiscal policies in every suburb of Australia, revealing a compelling story of winners and losers based on geography and political leanings.
The country's worst-affected suburb is western Sydney's Mount Druitt, which recently shot to national attention after it became the focus of a controversial SBS documentary about the effects of entrenched poverty.
Households in Mount Druitt will lose an average $1066.10 in the 2018-19 financial year, according to the analysis.
Date July 18, 2015 - 2:28AM
Sydney Morning Herald political and international editor
The Prime Minister's attack on the Australian sense of fairness is a rash high-wire act and it isn't a crowd pleaser.
Inequality is natural. Managing it is political. Recent increases in inequality have made the subject one of the biggest political issues in the world.
Tony Abbott missed this turn of events. It was probably the single greatest policy mistake of his prime ministership.
He came to power with the view that "in the end we have to be a productive and competitive society and greater inequality might be inevitable".
We do indeed have to be a productive and competitive society. But greater inequality is neither inevitable nor desirable.
Abbott might have picked up the cue three months after taking power when Barack Obama described rising inequality as "the defining challenge of our time".
Or from Pope Francis, who, around the same time, criticised those who "continue to defend trickle-down theories" of wealth from the 1980s while "the excluded are still waiting".
Health Budget Issues.
The tax office has confirmed it will be investigating any doctor who has received a lump sum payment for selling their practice to an organisation, following a ruling on what should be considered income.
Last month, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) ruled that money Primary Health Care paid for buying up practices was tax-deductible, resulting in an anticipated windfall of $130 million for the corporate.
About 200 GPs who received an up-front payment from Primary of between $300,000 and $500,000 face potential demands for taxes of as much as $200,000 on these payments.
- The Australian
- July 15, 2015
Patients waiting the longest for specialist appointments have been offered new hope in a Queensland budget that seeks to address problem areas before health funding gets tight.
Treasurer Curtis Pitt outlined a 4.1 per cent increase in health expenditure for 2015-16, with a commensurate increase in procedures and several targeted injections of funds.
Regional hospitals will benefit from $180 million in refurbishments and more nurses will be employed, while a $361m “outpatient long-wait reduction strategy” will slash the so-called “waiting list for the waiting list”.
While the Palaszczuk government expects to maintain performance levels for elective surgery and emergency department waits next year, it has yet to determine how the success of its outpatient strategy will be judged.
Date July 15, 2015
A leaked letter from Treasurer Joe Hockey to state and territory treasurers has confirmed that removing the goods and services tax on tampons and other sanitary items will cost $120 million over four years.
Mr Hockey has confirmed the change remains on the table, though he has cautioned there needs to be unanimous agreement from the states before the change goes ahead.
The leak of the letter comes as the Treasurer prepares to address a PricewaterhouseCoopers tax reform forum on Wednesday in which he will set out the six key principles that will guide the government's pursuit of tax reform.
Date July 16, 2015 - 8:37PM
Health and Indigenous affairs correspondent
Private insurance giant Medibank says profit is not behind its push to dramatically reduce hospital costs, after being accused of being a "schoolyard bully" and becoming an industry "pariah" by private hospitals.
Under new insurance conditions, Medibank will no longer cover 165 "highly preventable adverse events" that occur to patients in hospitals, claiming it will eliminate mistakes that hospitals and doctors are making.
The list, obtained by Fairfax Media, shows that the insurer will not cover infections following a procedure or fractures while in hospital, while the number of "events" has increased from 20 to 165.
15 July, 2015 Meg Pigram
The development of professional services has given one pharmacy the scope to expand and integrate into the wider primary healthcare system.
Paul Jones, owner of Moodie's Pharmacy in the central west NSW town of Bathurst, can provide an insider's guide to the establishment and ongoing management of professional services.
"You need two pharmacists as you can't do professional services and check scripts but I also think pharmacies will need to amalgamate and get bigger -- sometimes it can take you 30-40 minutes to do a service," Mr Jones said.
"The big three for pharmacies looking to expand into professional services are to have a consultation room, two pharmacists and to ensure you have software like GuildCare to record it," he said.
17 July, 2015 Chris Brooker
A review of current HMR funding arrangements should be at the forefront of the planned review of 6CPA professional service programs, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia believes.
Guild executive director David Quilty told Pharmacy News the Guild was keen to see a timetable on the planned reviews, which are written into the 6CPA.
As reported by Pharmacy News leading clinical pharmacist Debbie Rigby is advocating increasing the current cap of 20 reviews per month per accredited pharmacist, to 20 per week.
Her comments follow the publication of a major Australian systematic review which found that each HMR led to an average 3.6 fewer medication-related problems. Overall, it found HMRs resulted in a 45% reduction in hospitalisations and a 9.1% reduction in overall medication costs.
It is going to be very interesting to see what happens to the polls and consumer confidence over the next 2-3 months. With the pollies away in their electorates things should be stable for a while. Last week, probably because of issues and Greece, China etc. it just fell off a cliff!