RACGP calls for urgent clarity on Liberals’ payroll tax promise

Royal Australian College of GPs

The Royal Australian College of GPs (RACGP) has called on the Tasmanian Liberals to clarify their stance on the Patient Tax.

It comes following reports that the Liberals have committed to keeping the payroll tax status quo for practices in Tasmania. This stands in stark contrast to the Tasmanian Opposition who have made a firm commitment to a full exemption on payroll tax and no retrospective tax collection for independent GPs across the state.

The Australian Medical Association have publicly welcomed the Liberals making a commitment to “not alter payroll tax arrangements for contracted GPs” but RACGP Tasmania Chair Dr Toby Gardner has warned that this does not provide sufficient certainty for GPs and practice teams.

“Promising to maintain the status quo isn’t enough, we need a firm commitment from the Liberals to match the Opposition’s promise,” he said.

“Not altering current payroll tax arrangements sounds suspiciously like doing nothing, and that simply isn’t tenable when you consider the impact that this tax will have on general practice care across Tasmania. The Opposition have stepped up and provided certainty that they will not subject practices to this tax hit, now we need the Liberals to do the same, or at the very least clarify exactly what it is they are promising or committing to.”

Dr Gardner said that the future of general practice care in Tasmania was in a precarious position without a firm commitment from both major parties.

“Payroll tax could spell the end of affordable general practice care in Tasmania and lead to more patients pouring into already over-crowded hospital emergency departments,” he said.

“We need firm commitment now ahead of the state election. The RACGP will continue fighting for a fair go for GPs and practice teams and the patients we care for. The Patient Tax will force more and more practices, including those in rural and remote areas, to hike patient fees or shut up shop. The stakes could not be higher here in Tasmania. As has been reported today, Tasmania has the lowest bulk-billing rate in the country and recent Cleanbill report data found four of the nine electorates across the country which have no bulk-billing clinics are in Tasmania.

“I look forward to hearing more from the Tasmanian Liberals and stand ready to work with whoever forms government to secure the future of general practice care in Tasmania.”

The RACGP is calling for the next Tasmanian government to commit to:

  • no collection of retrospective payroll tax
  • clarity on the rules that apply so that general practices can ensure their business models and funding flows accurately reflect their work arrangements with independent practitioners.

RACGP spokespeople are

/Public Release.