Greens Treasury spokesperson Adam Bandt says a reintroduction of the controversial carbon tax would be fairer than a GST hike, however Australia’s peak small business body says the carbon tax remains too divisive.
Bandt told the ABC over the weekend while the Greens accept the government has a revenue problem, the party disagrees with the need to raise or broaden the goods and services tax.
Instead of increasing the cost of most goods and services, the Greens are proposing to hit high-income earners with a bigger tax bill in order to fix the budget’s bottom line.
“If you want to raise additional revenue, who should pay?” Bandt said.
“Should it be the big polluters with a smaller proportion of it falling onto households? Or do you want to do what the Liberal government is proposing and shift the burden downwards away from those who can afford it?
“You can do it either by raising the GST which will lift the prices of almost everything we buy, and put an extra $31 burden onto households. Or you do it with a carbon tax, which will lift costs to households by about $11 a week.”
Small businesses are, for the most part, opposed to the carbon tax, which was repealed by the Liberal Party when it was elected to government
However, members of the small business community have told SmartCompany they would support an increase to the GST if it comes with a reduction in taxes for business while leaving enough money in consumers’ pockets.
Peter Strong, chief executive of the Council of Small Business Australia, told SmartCompany the carbon tax is still a “raw nerve” among the business community.
“It’s a different issue,” he says.
“I can see where the Greens are coming from in that it’s another income source for the government, but it’s a very raw nerve. I think the best way to do it [fix the budget bottom line] is through the GST with a deep understanding of the impact it will have on some groups.”
Strong says if the primary issue is the need to fix government revenue, then political parties need to focus on what unites rather than divides them.
Pursuing the carbon tax, he says, will likely divide people.
“It [tax reform] has got to be done with everybody along the way, and [John] Howard and [Peter] Costello showed us how to do that,” Strong says.
The Turnbull government has said all options are on the table when it comes to tax reform.
As part of this process, the government is considering whether to broaden the GST to include financial services in order to help fund a company tax cut, according to Fairfax.