Media release

AMA applauds Labor's pledge, and urges all parties to do the same

Australian Medical Association President Dr John Saul today welcomed the Labor party’s election commitment to not impose payroll taxes on doctors, which would only lead to higher costs for patients.

“Most doctors have never been subject to payroll tax as they are independent service providers, not employees, who rent a room and share reception and nursing staff within a general practice building.

“Recent High Court decisions have challenged the interpretation of a contractor, bringing with it the threat of payroll tax applying to general practices.

“To impose this tax on doctors would be devastating and only worsen the GP workforce shortage and cost of living crisis many Tasmanians are experiencing.

“Some GP practices would close, especially if the tax was made retrospective as has been threatened in other states.”

Dr Saul said this election commitment by the Labor Party recognises the critical role general practice plays in delivering healthcare in Tasmania and the importance of supporting the frontline, not attacking it by imposing further costs on an already costly business for doctors and patients. 

“AMA Tasmania has previously raised its concern about payroll tax with the Premier, Health Minister and Treasury Secretary since this issue became a threat a couple of years ago.

“While the state government has not imposed payroll tax, the fear it could at any time has not gone away. General practice needs certainty, and this commitment from Labor provides that.

“With certainty, general practice can get back to concentrating on its core business - delivering healthcare to Tasmanians without shouldering unnecessary financial burdens.

Dr Saul added that this affirmative support is significant and could avert further strain on an already overburdened system in the face of healthcare system crises.

“We do not need the cost of going to a GP to go up for patients due to a state tax. Many Tasmanians already struggle to find the money to see their doctor.

“While revenue might improve, on the one hand, the cost of more patients turning up to our already overburdened emergency departments to receive care outweighs the benefits on the other.

“The continued uncertainty compounds the challenges patients and healthcare professionals face and its potential impacts on healthcare provision. We urge all parties to rule out imposing payroll tax just as the Labor Party is doing today.”

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