Editorial - Thursday, May 15: Scene set for GST rise

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey were busily selling their budget yesterday but when you have started slashing your way towards a surplus that's no easy task.

It was a real mixed bag in Tuesday night's announcements, with promises broken as foreshadowed and plenty of bad news for young people out of work and those who visit their GP regularly.

On the other side of the coin, a commitment to infrastructure spending must always be applauded.

It was one of the failures of the Howard government that it continually opted for middle-class welfare and small tax cuts rather than investing in Australia's development with a major infrastructure program.

The Abbott Government has heeded that lesson.

Setting aside $20 billion for a medical research fund is a great initiative, but sits strangely alongside cuts to other areas of scientific research.

Incentives to employ older workers are also welcome, as is the long overdue move to end lifetime gold passes for politicians.

The toughest sell for the PM and Treasurer however looks to be to the states.

Premiers around the country were making noises of revolt yesterday about plans to remove federal health and education funding.

The states won't be able to afford to fund those programs - even with the incentives to privatise more public assets - and there will be plenty of negotiations ahead, but the outcome already seems apparent.

Get ready to pay a 15% GST within the next three years.

David Moase,

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