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Reforming Australia's hidden welfare state: tax expenditures as welfare for the rich

25 Mar 2009

As Australia enters recession and the Budget enters deficit, one of the least effective and most unfair forms of government spending has increased dramatically. Tax expenditures (in the form of tax breaks on superannuation, the private health insurance and childcare rebates, housing concessions etc) are increasing in number and cost, despite being significantly less equitable than other forms of government assistance.

Because tax expenditures do not go through the same review process as normal government spending, they tend to be less accountable and transparent. As a result, tax expenditures attract less media attention and less democratic scrutiny. It is essential that their growing slice of Commonwealth spending be scrutinised and in some cases reconsidered.

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