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86% of low to middle income families in NSW are concerned about a potential rise in the GST, and 89% are concerned about potentially applying the GST to food, according to research by the Council of Social Service of NSW.

The findings – from a survey of low to middle income families conducted by Essential Media Communications and Research Now – are detailed in NCOSS’ annual Cost of Living Report, which was released earlier this month.

NCOSS Deputy CEO, John Mikelsons, said more low to middle income families were now struggling.

“Families on low to middle incomes are doing it tougher than ever, and almost 1 in 7 NSW children are living in poverty”, he said.

“Over the past ten years, basic household expenses like electricity have more than doubled, while rents in Sydney have gone up a whopping 60%.

“To meet these costs, many parents are forced to cut back or delay paying for other essentials like going to the dentist, go for medical appointments or buying new clothes.

Mr Mikelsons also said that NSW families were concerned about proposals to increase the GST. 86% were either very concerned or quite concerned about a rise in the rate of GST, and 89% were concerned about applying the GST to food.

“We know that it is essential that state governments can raise the revenue they need to pay for the services that everyone relies on. We support sensible tax reform that secures the revenue our governments need to pay for these quality services.

“But at a time when almost 1 in 7 children in NSW are experiencing poverty, and low to middle income families are struggling to meet the rising cost of living, increases to regressive taxes like the GST are the last place we should look for revenue – not the first.