In Parliament

Adjournment - Health Payroll Tax



Thursday, 30 November 2023

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (18:17):

My adjournment is to the Premier, and the action I seek is for the State Labor government to reverse their nasty new health tax, which undermines the services that doctors can provide and increases the costs of medical care for all Victorians.

Medical professionals have chosen to do their job because they care about people, and they care about ensuring that people remain in good health. Yet the Labor government has decided to attack these medical professionals and risk their future viability.

We know they are doing it tough. We know they are doing it tough at this time because we know that 74 per cent of clinics are currently experiencing financial strain. Over the last year we have seen 184 clinics close their doors.

Businesses act in good faith and make decisions based on the rules that exist at the time. Over recent decades we have seen medical professionals set up in a hub model where professionals work independently in a single-service site. It is a model that is good for them and good for the community. It also helps keep the costs down for Victorians who want to use medical services. We know the cost of visiting a medical clinic is some 17 to 18 times lower than attending an emergency service.

The State Revenue decision undermines the model that health providers have set up and undermines those providers that are spread across our communities. We know it because that is what the providers are telling us. One fantastic provider in my community described the tax as ‘an existential threat’, saying that the State Revenue Office is targeting general practice clinics and planning to levy payroll tax on payments to doctors both retrospectively and ongoing. This would most certainly cause a collapse in general practice with negative impacts on both patients and the healthcare system as a whole. Further, retrospective payments for the previous five years with penalties, as is occurring in some cases at a state level, is unfair and destructive to an industry already struggling.

Those are the words of the industry. When we look at other states, we know that Queensland has provided an amnesty and New South Wales has provided an amnesty.

I call on the Premier to consider the impact of these taxes on good, hardworking people who provide good, hardworking services to the community, consider the other states’ measures and consider allowing those other state measures to be applied in Victoria.