Media Release dt 18/08/2023

The Australian Patients Association urges governments of NSW, VIC and the ACT to exempt General Practice from newly instituted payroll tax

The Australian Patients Association calls upon the governments of New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory to immediately exempt General Practice from newly instituted payroll tax.

APA Health Reform Ambassador Professor Nick Coatsworth said today “the payroll tax will eat into the cost of living relief that the federal government provided through increasing the bulk billing incentive.  Bulk billing rates will not rise to the extent needed because of this decision by certain State and Territory first ministers.  Western Australia did the right thing and backed down on this.  We’re calling on NSW, Victoria and the ACT to do the same, and return any revenue collected so far back to individual practices”.

“This is the most obvious example of federal-state cost shifting that we have seen in a long time in Australia.  The multi-billion dollar boost to General Practice and bulk billing in this year’s budget will find its way into state coffers through this payroll tax.  It amounts to a failure of the National Cabinet, in fact it is not even clear that it has been discussed.”

Acting Chief Executive Officer Mr Stephen Mason said “the latest APA/Healthengine Australian Healthcare Index has shown that 42 percent of Australians defer general practice visits due to cost. In particular, this affects young Australians.  Efforts to engage young people with General Practice to start a lifetime of care will be undercut by the payroll tax policy.  Access to preventive and mental health care, which needs to be coordinated through a general practitioner, will be compromised.”

“The APA is aware of a General Practice in NSW that was hit with a $490,000 tax bill and a Victorian practice with close to an $800,000 bill.  These large sums cannot be supported without passing the cost onto the patient.  We stand alongside the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and the Australian Medical Association in calling for this tax to be repealed.”

The Australian Patients Association is the leading patient advocate for affordable, equitable access to healthcare for Australians.


Mr Stephen Mason, Acting Chief Executive Officer at Mobile: 0408 944 859

Professor Nick Coatsworth, Ambassador for Health Reform at Mobile: 0417 610 483