Taking an axe to government programs

Marcus L’Estrange writes: Re. “Keane’s slash-and-burn suggestions for the Commission of Audit” (Friday). Why not just have one education department or one health department for all of Australia, administered by a COAG cabinet of nine ministers, rather than having nine departments of education or health? This one department would not be owned by one state or the Commonwealth but be owned by the nation as a whole. Think of the money saved by the purging of nine empires with all their overlapping, duplication and each doing a “cut and paste” of each others’ work or from other organisations.

Peter Matters writes: Once every publicly owned piece of infrastructure has been flogged off, governments will no longer have the option of taking the easy way out. Then we, the electors, better get used to the idea of actually voting into power governments with courage, vision and imagination. Considering that in the foreseeable future a smaller ratio of earners will not only will have to keep a larger ratio of retirees as well as having to pay dearly for making good the damage caused by our generation’s  obsession with heedless, decadent consumerism, we better put on our thinking caps now. It will then no longer be a question of getting the government we deserve but electing a government to reflect our own forward thinking.

Robyn O’Bryan writes: Very interested in your suggestions for the government’s Commission of Audit (after all they have made some fabulous starts in cuts to Aboriginal legal aid funding, school kids bonus, super assistance for low-income earners, tax cuts for small businesses, etc). I have to say, what about elimination of that great tax lurk: the fringe benefits tax?

Peter North writes: Add other items to your list:

  • Cut first home owner grant (all it does is inflate property prices);
  • Cut immigration and thereby reduce the need for and cost of new infrastructure currently estimated at about $250,000 per migrant — this is bigger than the combined total of your items for the present level of 300,000 migrants pa;
  • Cut baby bonus completely;
  • Cut out negative gearing (in phases). Bad use of investment money;
  • Cut out fuel subsidies to mining companies; and
  • Cut out fuel tax exemptions to airlines (this distorts the entire transport market).

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