RACGP again urges Victoria to scrap payroll tax grab

Michelle Wisbey

29/08/2023 4:46:13 PM

There could be an exodus of GPs, the college has warned, as pressure mounts on the Government to follow the lead of other states.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews addressing media.
The most recent newsGP poll revealed the imposition of payroll tax would lead to 94% of respondents increasing their fees. (Image: AAP)

For a second time this month, the RACGP has written to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews urging him to act immediately on payroll tax or risk practice shutdowns and GPs moving interstate.
Victoria now stands isolated, with New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland, and the Australian Capital Territory already announcing amnesties or concessions.
The State Government’s refusal to follow suit comes despite pleas from the college, practice owners and frontline doctors to scrap the tax or provide an amnesty.
Western Australia has also confirmed it does not intend to change its current payroll tax provisions.
As Premier Andrews remains silent, RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins has once again urged his government to step in to avert a crisis.
‘More practices have been coming forward that have received enormous retrospective payroll tax bills which are facing closure,’ she said.
‘We can’t afford to lose any practices due to this new application of payroll tax – this will be devastating for the patients and communities that lose their GPs.
‘The RACGP looks forward to working with the Victorian Government and other state and territory governments to find a permanent solution, because everyone in Australia needs access to timely and affordable GP care.’
In the most recent newsGP poll, more than nine in 10 respondents said the imposition of payroll tax would lead to a rise in patient fees, with 56% saying the increase would be $20 or more.
In NSW, at least six practices have received retrospective payroll tax notices, including one for $450,000.
In Victoria, one practice manager received an $800,000 payroll tax bill.
According to RACGP Victoria Chair Dr Anita Muñoz, the threat of extra payroll tax is causing significant anxiety and stress for GPs and practice owners in the state.
‘Victoria’s GPs have been through so much during the pandemic, and now we have the threat of enormous, backdated payroll tax bills hanging over our heads,’ she said.
‘Our Premier needs to step in urgently, or we will soon see GPs leaving Victoria for other states that have taken steps to address this issue with amnesties and other concessions to ensure no GP clinics are forced to close or increase fees.’
The RACGP also warned that while this is a state tax, it has national implications and will undermine Federal Government reforms and investment to increase access to GPs, including the tripling of bulk-billing incentives that will come into effect in November.
A Victorian Government spokesperson has previously said payroll tax is assessed in the same way across industries and professions.
‘There has been no change to the law or the application of the tax in relation to GPs or medical centres,’ they said.
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Dr Jacqueline Anne Barry   31/08/2023 9:39:12 PM

Perhaps it's time for a 1 day total GP strike. Perhaps Monday October 2nd, after Grand Final long weekend for extra effect. EDs would be crushed

Dr Javier Armando Campuzano Ortiz   2/09/2023 11:04:32 AM

that is a fantastic idea Jaqueline I would be all for it. I wonder how we could make it happen?