Positive meeting gives hope for payroll tax exemptions

Matt Woodley

2/02/2023 1:20:06 PM

The Queensland Treasurer has told RACGP representatives that all options remain open and that he would like it discussed at National Cabinet.

Medical bills.
The RACGP says significant progress has been made in relation to payroll tax since the beginning of the year.

A 1.5-hour meeting with Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick has left RACGP representatives hopeful of a positive resolution to the payroll tax issue that has threatened to stall any hope of positive Medicare reform and improved access to patient care.
RACGP Vice President and Queensland Chair Dr Bruce Willett told newsGP significant progress has been made since the beginning of the year, and while more work lays ahead, he said the Department of Treasury is ‘very keen’ to continue engaging with the college about finding a resolution.
‘The Minister said that all options are on the table in terms of resolving this issue,’ he said.
‘[Treasurer Dick] indicated that he had a much better understanding of our position after we explained the difficulty practices would have in complying with this tax on tenant doctors … and the impact it could have on the strengthening Medicare reforms.
‘He would also like to see this discussed at National Cabinet, because this is a problem among all of the other states as well.’
The meeting outcomes come in the wake of sustained media pressure from the college on payroll tax and are in stark contrast to previous reporting that suggested the Queensland Treasurer had ruled out exemptions.
Dr Willett commended Treasurer Dick for showing leadership in terms of ruling out retrospective audits of practices – a commitment other states are yet to make – but urged the State Government to go further still to protect general practices and their patients.
‘It was an hour-and-a-half meeting, which is a long time with the Minister so he’s clearly taking it seriously,’ he said.
‘The chronic underfunding of general practice means that practices cannot absorb this money and will have to make the choice to either pass it on to patients or go broke, it’s as simple as that.
‘So, although it’s not an issue of the Treasurer’s making, he is the person with the ability to resolve it.’
However, Dr Willett said other states also need to follow Queensland’s lead and come to the negotiating table, and implored members to continue raising the issue with their local MPs.
‘This is a nationwide issue,’ he said. ‘We need all of the states to bring this to National Cabinet … [and] harmonise the legislation.
‘There are no easy solutions, other than an exemption for tenant doctors. Otherwise, it risks breaking general practice, breaking Medicare reform, and leaving patients broken.’
Payroll tax webinars
The RACGP is set to hold three webinars on payroll tax next week, hosted by CEO Paul Wappett and featuring input from Dr Willett and college President Dr Nicole Higgins, as well as legal and accounting experts.
The webinars will contain the same content but be presented at different times to accommodate members across the country.
Learning outcomes include:

  • why payroll tax is an emerging issue for general practice
  • the impact of applying payroll tax to tenant GPs
  • identify areas of risk and action for practice owners and independent contractors.
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Dr Jo   4/02/2023 10:27:26 AM

This is not success. I will consider it a failure. It is due to our weak stance that medicare is heading towards failure. Politicians do not care because they can always cause diversions and smoke screens to avoid the issues. Racgp need to look at nurses union if they want to learn how to get things done. If we close our clinics nation wide for only 2 days , things will move around. I am really worried about future of general practice in Australia.