CHA warns not-for-profit workers could be worse off

Catholic Health Australia (CHA) today warned tax policy directions proposed in the Productivity Commission's report on the Contribution of the Not-For-Profit sector could lead to a pay cut for health and aged care workers.

"The Commission has described fringe benefits tax concessions for employees of not-for-profit organisations as ineffective," Mr Laverty said.

"If the Government abolished those concessions, it would leave health and aged care workers with less pay and Catholic not-for-profit hospitals and aged care facilities forced to shut essential services."

Removing fringe benefits tax exemptions for employees of not-for-profit entities, including hospitals and aged care providers, would force nurses, carers and other workers to take an involuntary pay cut of around $50 a week.

"The alternative would be for Catholic hospitals to make up the difference at a cost of $72 million per annum. It would be impossible to wear this cost without cutting back on services -- many of which provide health care to Australia's most disadvantaged people," Mr Laverty said.

"Taking away fringe benefits tax concessions from employees of not-for-profit bodies would destabilise hospital services in Australia, forcing some hospitals to cut or close services and very likely increasing the workload on the public hospital system.

"It may increase the cost of private health insurance. It would almost certainly cause some not-for-profit hospitals to shut their doors.

"With the current health reform process underway, now is not the time to destabilise the large and important not-for-profit hospital and aged care sector with the prospect of financial uncertainty at best and extreme financial hardship at worst."

Mr Laverty said CHA was pleased that the Productivity Commission stopped short of recommending that the Government abolish tax concessions for employees of not-for-profit organisations.

"Every one of our 75 not-for-profit hospitals and 550 not-for-profit aged care providers is not only beneficial to the community but provides essential services to underprivileged and marginalised Australians," he said.

"It is in the best interests of the community for the Government to support the services we provide."

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