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The NSW Council of Social Service (NCOSS) is backing ACOSS’ call for the Federal Government to split its tax package and protect funding for essential social services.

Ahead of an expected Senate vote today, NCOSS is urging the Federal Government to allow the Parliament to vote on each of the three stages of tax cut package separately so the timely and better targeted tax cuts can be prioritised.

NCOSS CEO, Joanna Quilty, urged NSW Senators to oppose the expensive, high-end tax cuts that are proposed years in advance.

“The Federal Government is playing reverse Robin Hood – taking money that could go to essential services for our most disadvantaged in favour of giving tax cuts to those at the top end,” Ms Quilty said.

“These high-end tax cuts would cost around $18 billion a year which is likely to push the budget into deficit given the slowing economy. That raises the risk of more rounds of harsh funding cuts.

“The Government is forecasting that growth in funding for health and social security will slow, despite population growth and an ageing population.

“It is a gamble to rely on a set of rosy economic projections for the future and commit to large tax cuts now, many years in advance.

“Our services need to be prioritised, not an unaffordable tax cut that mainly goes to the highest 20% of income earners.

“We call for common sense to prevail – split up the Bill and support the first stage, which mainly goes to middle income-earners, but not high-end cuts years into the future.

“If the full tax package is implemented, a taxpayer on $200,000 will save $11,000 a year.

“We are asking our NSW Senators to defend funding for essential social services that communities rely on.”

Ms Quilty added that it was a better economic decision to boost the rate of the Newstart Allowance.

“People on high incomes are likely to save extra income they receive in the form of tax cut, which does not support consumer spending in a slowing economy.

“An increase to Newstart will go straight back into struggling local economies as people on low incomes spend the money on basics like food and rent.

“Raising Newstart is a more effective and less expensive way to boost the economy than the government’s high-end tax cut package,” Ms Quilty said.

Media contact: Nick Trainor 0407 078 138