AN ELECTION MOMENT
The Joanne McCarthy Mercury column (Illawarra Mercury, Saturday, March 11) demonstrates one small example of a national dilemma: We all demand a high quality of public provision in areas like education, public transport, community security, health but many of us are determined to pay as little tax as possible.
The provisions of legal tax avoidance have developed over the decades.
Death duties, the payment of an amount of tax on inheritances, were abandoned by the most right wing Australian political leader of my lifetime, Jo Bjelke-Petersen and soon other states followed suit.
Today quite wealthy people minimize their taxation liabilities through the use of family trusts, the negative gearing of investment real estate purchases, the lack of an obligation to pay tax on the most prevalent form of wealth creation in Australia, which is the capital gain on investment, the reduction of tax by paying into superannuation funds.
The tax so avoided now amounts to tens, perhaps hundreds of billions of dollars a year – negative gearing alone is estimated to cost the Federal budget thirty billion dollars annually
The results are threefold. People in humble employment, working three jobs per couple to pay off, say, a four hundred thousand dollar mortgage on a home worth six hundred thousand dollars are paying nearly half of the highest dollar earned in income tax while people worth millions pay far lesser rates.
The federal government must engage in potentially ruinous rates of borrowing to meet community expectations of provision; the receivers of quite modest rates of government financial assistance are demonized, their entitlements challenged and reduced.
A meeting on these issues in Nowra on March seventh attracted hundreds of clearly concerned and angry people who demanded change.
It seems to me that the next election will be decided around the question of social provision (the entitlements that once were called "the social wage" of Australia) and the sustainability of those provisions.
If all of the tax havens of the wealthy were removed sufficient wealth would be created for the old aged pension to be made universally available in a taxable form, things like the disgraceful backlog in repairs needed in public schools to be removed and highest income tax rates to be reduced for everyone.
The next Federal election will show us the will of the major parties to come to grips with these issues. It represents a watershed for the sort of Australia our grandkids will inherit.
Noel Beddoe, Kiama
If, as has been stated in the media in recent days, Wollongong City Council intend to allow a housing development to proceed in the foothills off Farmborough Road at Unanderra, I sincerely hope council has done their homework.
If the land in question is the same land that at one time housed the science centre, or some such name at the very top of Farmborough Road, it is subject to severe slipping.
The house next to the science centre was condemned around 20 years ago due to the slipping.
Surely council won't allow this land to be built on. If this is the same land, I say council should be responsible for any damage or loss in the future, if they allow a residential development to go ahead.
Alice Scott, Berkeley
WHERE’S THE LOGIC?
I don't know about anyone else but I find it hard to fathom that two people kill a cop and get ten years jail between them,and another person who smuggled some dope into a drug infested place got 20 years.
Where is the logic?
Warren Fleming, Balgownie