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January 28, 2011

The Gillard Government’s proposed flood tax is another example of Labor’s panicked approach to the economy and failure to manage money, according to The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester.

Mr Chester said Gippslanders had no reason to trust Prime Minister Julia Gillard after the bungled handling of the home insulation program; school hall cost blowouts; highly expensive broadband rollout; and the wasteful distribution of $900 cheques in response to the global financial crisis.

“This government always panics under pressure and treats taxpayers’ money as a blank cheque – it has failed to deliver value for money on a range of projects,” Mr Chester said.

“Instead of introducing a new flood tax, the government should have cut the fat from its own budget and reduced the impact on Gippsland households which are already struggling with the increased cost of living.

”If the Labor Party hadn’t been so wasteful over the past three years, there would be plenty of capacity to manage a natural disaster of this magnitude – that’s what people expect governments to do with their taxes.

“This new tax will also have a flow on impact to small businesses as it reduces confidence and cash in the regional economy.”

Mr Chester said there was a risk that the new tax would reduce the community’s willingness to donate in future emergency appeals.

“Gippslanders and the rest of Australia have rallied magnificently in the past to support bushfire and flood appeals but if there is an expectation that the government of the day is going to introduce a new tax each time, it may make some people hesitate or adjust the size of their donations,” Mr Chester said.

“This is not a ‘mateship’ tax as the Prime Minister would have Gippslanders believe – mates help each other out in times of need because they want to.

“This new tax undermines the volunteer spirit and acts of generosity that have been on display since the flood disaster hit Queensland and Victoria.

“People who have already donated or volunteered to assist flood victims will pay this new tax if the independents and the Greens support the Labor Party in Federal Parliament.”

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