The independent Parliamentary Budget Office has confirmed the heaviest burden of a GST on fresh food will fall on those least able to pay.
The report finds extending the existing 10 per cent GST to food will cost families $7.2 billion in the first year, and a staggering $77.2 billion in its first nine years.
A 15 per cent GST will lift that bill to around $10.2 billion in the first year alone, and $108.9 billion over the medium term.
And the report pulls no punches about who would bear the brunt of this assault.
“Removing the GST-free status of basic food has a significantly greater relative impact in lower income earners”
In fact, the report finds the lowest income households would pay around six times more than the highest income earners as a proportion of their already meager income.
The Parliamentary Budget Office report confirms extending the GST will price fresh food beyond the reach of already struggling families.
It comes in the same week the latest ABS National Health survey found almost two thirds of Australian adults or 11.2 million people are now overweight or obese.
Malcolm Turnbull’s obsession with whacking a 15 per cent tax on fruit, vegetables, milk, bread, meat and seafood will only add to this crisis by tipping the balance more towards junk food and making it more expensive to have a healthier diet.
The recent global burden of disease study already rates our poor diet as the biggest contributor to disease and illness in Australia, followed by obesity.
With over 11 million Australians overweight, and around 1 million already living with diabetes, extending the GST to fresh food will not only hit the poorest Australians hardest, it will tilt the tax base away from healthier food and worsen health outcomes.