RACGP meets with SA Opposition on payroll tax issues

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) welcomed the invitation to attend a roundtable hosted by the Liberal Opposition of South Australia to discuss with GPs the impact that imposing payroll tax on independent practitioners will have on their practices, the cost implications for patients, and possible solutions.

The RACGP South has been working collaboratively with both the Government and the Opposition in an attempt to resolve the looming payroll tax impacts on general practice which will see practices close and could make it more expensive for South Australians to see a GP.

According to RACGP surveys only 3% of practices would be able to absorb the costs of extra payroll tax on independent GPs, 78% would have to raise fees and 56% of respondents said they would have to increase out-of-pocket fees by more than $20.

RACGP South Australia Chair Dr Sian Goodson said the roundtable yesterday was a constructive opportunity to talk to the South Australian Opposition about the importance of a solution that preserves the financial sustainability of general practice.

“The RACGP welcomed the opportunity to sit down with Opposition Leader Hon David Spiers, Shadow Treasurer Matt Cowdrey, and Shadow Minister for Health Ashton Hurn to discuss the impact of this new interpretation of payroll tax law,” Dr Goodson said.

“GP practices run on thin margins and that means the extra financial burden of payroll tax will likely lead to widespread practice closures, reduced rates of bulk billing, and increased out-of-pocket fees for patients.

“The flow on effects will impact state hospitals because if people can’t afford to see a GP they will have poorer health outcomes that will ultimately require hospitalisation and risk further pressure on our emergency departments.

‘While welcoming the payroll tax amnesty handed down by South Australia Treasurer Stephen Mullighan earlier this year, the impacts of this tax on general practice are real and are looming closer every day. We encourage the Government to not only extend the amnesty to allow practices time to structure their business to survive but to also look to payroll tax models in other states such as Queensland, providing clarity to GPs on the interpretation of payroll tax law.”

Dr Goodson said the RACGP was continuing to work positively and collaboratively with the South Australian Government and was hopeful of a resolution soon.

“Since this issue emerged we have had a series of meetings and discussions with Treasurer Stephen Mullighan and other representatives of the South Australian Government and we are confident we are working towards a solution that protects people’s affordable access to GPs,” she said.

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