By all accounts, the flood levy is going ahead. Thanks, Julia. And a happy Australia Day to you, too. So not only is there a new tax, but people will be paying a fortune for food. What planet are the pollies on?
THE federal government has agreed to hit taxpayers with a one-off levy to help cover the cost of flood damage, at the same time warning that food prices will skyrocket during the next three months.
The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, held meetings in Canberra yesterday with the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, the Finance Minister, Penny Wong, the Infrastructure Minister, Anthony Albanese, and officials to thrash out the details of the levy as well as budget cuts to find the billions needed to rebuild roads, railway lines and bridges in flood-affected areas. [Not difficult, chaps: NBN, Pink Batts, BER etc etc - Ed]
While the levy was still being finalised late yesterday, the main option involved an increase in the 1.5 per cent Medicare levy over 12 months. It is understood other options were being canvassed.
Ms Gillard was to announce the levy next week after Mr Swan outlined the financial impact of the floods during a speech on Friday.
But it was decided to bring forward the announcement to a National Press Club address tomorrow while public sentiment over the floods was high and so the government could start selling the levy against opposition attacks.
Joe Hockey, however, nails it squarely:
”You would have to have rocks in your head to impose a new tax on Australian families on the back of rising fruit prices and vegie prices,” he said. (source)
But they have, Joe, they have.