Should We Pay Flood Levy

We all know that Queensland has faced one of the biggest natural disasters in Australian history. Devastating floods swept through south-eastern Queensland destroying lives, crops and property. Australia must now look to rebuild what has been destroyed. Roads, community centers and hospitals, the list goes on. $5.6 billion dollars is a conservative estimate of what is needed for communities to recover. [Pause]   But who should pay?

The Prime Minister says that we should now dig deep to show Aussie spirit, but we already have with hundreds of thousands of volunteers from all around the country doing their bit and helping out. Also millions of Australians have already willingly given an amazing $210 million to the flood appeal. This voluntary reaction is not what the Prime Minister means; she has announced a $1.8 Billion Flood Levy and this is unacceptable. It is simply another name for a new tax.

My research showed that the flood levy amounts to .01% per week of an annual income, an apparently small number however if the government paid .01% of their 1.6 trillion dollar annual income for just a single week, the flood levy would be just about covered.

It is true that we have had many levies in the past, and some of them have been worthwhile, in particular the 1996 Gun Buyback levy and the 1999 East Timor levy both of which had bi-partisan support.   I am not opposed to levies themselves, just this particular levy. Unlike the levy for the Gun Buy Back and East Timor, the Australian people have already given from their personal savings to the flood appeal. To ask them to also bear a levy is an unnecessary burden.

Funds could be found by scrapping many questionable programs – for example, the Cash for Clunkers program, or slowing down the broadband network which has an enormous budget of $36 billion dollars. So the question must be asked. Why is this government so determined on a levy as its solution?

The Prime Minister’s aim of returning the budget to...