WACOSS recognises that increases to state rates, taxes, fees and charges has a disproportionate impact on low income households in terms of the percentage of household income expended on such costs.
WACOSS is committed to ensuring that drive for an equitable tax system is high on the public agenda and believes that all state revenue proposals should be subject to a social impact assessment to ascertain whether, separately or cumulatively, they impact unfairly on low income families and individuals. As a guide, WACOSS maintains rises in taxes and charges should be kept at or below the Consumer Price Index.
Rebates and concessions are a vital component in ensuring all Western Australians have the financial capacity to meet their basic living costs, whilst living with dignity and respect.
At present there is no cohesive policy framework or strategy within which Western Australian state concessions and rebates are formulated or administered. Currently, concessions are managed and administered across several different government departments and the responsibility for accessing concessions and proving entitlement is placed solely upon the consumer.
This process of self-identifying entitlement and applying for concessions in multiple locations is often onerous and difficult for consumers and can be further complicated by the existence of challenges to social participation such as physical and mental health status, lack of access to transport, old age, or language and communication skills.
The lack of flexibility in targeting entitled concession recipients has also meant that the availability of State Government concessions has not been effective in addressing or responding to the changing needs of people living in Western Australia.
WACOSS recommends holistic policy coordination in the administration, planning and management of social and other concessions. A centralised rebates and concessions unit would allow consumers to access all relevant entitlements through one streamlined process, rather than having to contact and apply to a number of different government departments.
Rates, Taxes, Fees and Charges Publications
State Budget 2007/08 Information Sheet Financial Wellbeing, May 2007
ACOSS Comments on Executive Summary of the Interim Report State Taxation Review, April 2006
WACOSS Comments on Land Tax Issues Papers State Taxation Review, April 2006
WACOSS Comments on State Taxation Review Issues Papers, Feb 2006
WACOSS State Tax Review Submission, Sept 2005