Accessible transcript - Task A4.2 Tax in your community

This is the accessible text transcript for Tax in your community.

Part 1: local, state and territory, and Australian Government tax

In Australia there are three levels of government:

  • Local,
  • State and territory, and
  • Australian Government.

Each level of government has the right to collect taxes, and provides certain goods and services which are partly paid for using tax revenue.

Your task

Your task is to work out which level of government funds the goods and services we see all around us. Explore the city of Greenville. For each service you find, identify whether it was funded by local, state and territory, or the Australian Government, or a combination of these.

Healthcare services

All Australians are entitled to subsidised public hospital services.

Which level of government pays for this?

Note: There may be more than one correct answer.

  • Local
  • State or territory
  • Australian Government

The correct answer is both the state or territory governments and the Australian Government.

The Australian Government pays around two-thirds of Australia's health system costs. This includes running specific health programs and providing funds to the state and territory governments to run Australia's public hospital system. The state and territory governments provide the balance of the required funding.

Public housing

Government-subsidised housing exists in all states and territories for disadvantaged Australians, particularly those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Which level of government pays for this?

Note: There may be more than one correct answer.

  • Local
  • State or territory
  • Australian Government

The correct answer is both the state or territory governments and the Australian Government.

The Australian Government provides funding to the state and territory governments to help pay for construction, repairs and maintenance of public housing. The Australian Government also provides rental assistance funding through Centrelink payments.

Roads

Aside from those with tolls, all Australian public roads and freeways are free to use.

Who pays for public roads and freeways?

Note: There may be more than one correct answer.

  • Local
  • State or territory
  • Australian Government

The correct answer is all three levels of government.

The Australian Government usually funds around 25% of the construction or maintenance of Australia's public roads. The state and territory governments pay around 40%, local governments pay around 30% and the private sector pays the remaining 5% of this cost.

Courts

The Australian court system is hierarchical, with each court using its powers to hear specific types of legal matters.

Who funds our courts?

Note: There may be more than one correct answer.

  • Local
  • State or territory
  • Australian Government

The correct answer is both the state or territory governments and the Australian Government.

The Australian court system includes the High Court, the Federal Court and the Family Court of Australia, which are funded by the Australian Government. The Supreme Courts, the District Courts and the Magistrates Courts are funded by the state and territory governments.

Parks and recreation

Local parks are a treasured feature of every community.

Who pays for their establishment and maintenance?

Note: There may be more than one correct answer.

  • Local
  • State or territory
  • Australian Government

The correct answer is all three levels of government.

The Australian Government provides only 10% of funding for parks and recreation. Local governments provide around 50% of the funding for all parks, recreation facilities and activities, with the state and territory governments funding the remainder.

Defence

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) consists of the Royal Australian Navy, the Australian Army and the Royal Australian Air Force. The ADF receives around $27 billion in funding each year.

Which level of government funds the ADF?

Note: There may be more than one correct answer.

  • Local
  • State or territory
  • Australian Government

The correct answer is the Australian Government.

The Australian Government is solely responsible for the budget of the Australian Defence Force including equipment, facilities and the salaries of defence personnel.

Schools

All Australian school-aged children are entitled to free education. Schools operate at a local level but follow a state or territory and national curriculum.

Who funds our free education?

Note: There may be more than one correct answer.

  • Local
  • State or territory
  • Australian Government

The correct answer is both the state or territory governments and the Australian Government.

While the Australian Government funds part of the expense of the Australian school system, the vast majority (around 75%) of the funds are provided by the state and territory governments.

Garbage and recycling

All Australian households in metropolitan areas are entitled to garbage collection and recycling services.

Who pays for these services?

Note: There may be more than one correct answer.

  • Local
  • State or territory
  • Australian Government

The correct answer is local government.

Funding and responsibility for waste management falls almost entirely to local governments in Australia. The Australian Government and state and territory governments have a guiding role to ensure Australia meets environmental policies and pollution-control measures.

Well done!

You have finished Part 1. Imagine the impact on your community if the government stopped providing these kinds of goods and services. Deciding how to spend tax revenue is a very challenging task, even more so when the community faces a crisis.

In Part 2, it will be your job to make these decisions as the Prime Minister. Your job is especially challenging because the city of Greenville is about to face its worst flood in 100 years.

Part 2: devastation in Greenville

The Greenville Gazette: Greenville flood devastation
A devastating flood has just swept through the city of Greenville, destroying homes, businesses and infrastructure. Thousands of residents are homeless and critical services including power and water have been disrupted.

Residents are calling on the government to provide urgently needed services, accommodation and healthcare for flood victims, and to establish a recovery plan for the city.

You are the Prime Minister.

The Greenville flood is so extensive that the state and local governments don't have enough funds to rebuild. They have asked you to provide additional funds for the rebuilding work.

Your goal is to move the city of Greenville's status from Crisis back to Stable in three key areas:

  • community wellbeing
  • the economy
  • the environment.

To achieve this goal, you need to reallocate tax revenue to address the problems caused by the flood.

Your task

  • Talk to different community groups to understand the problems they now face and the funding required to address the problems.
  • Choose the budget that has the best chance of making the city stable.

 Tips

  • You have three chances to choose the budget that will do the best job of making the city stable.
  • Try to prioritise the problems that have the greatest impact on the city's stability.
  • Keep an eye on your smartphone for updates.

Healthcare services

Healthcare services are inundated with people injured in the floods. Hospital beds are full. Patient numbers are expected to rise and health officials fear a disease epidemic because the city's sewerage and fresh water systems have been damaged.

'We urgently need more ambulance vehicles and officers out on the roads. We can't keep up with the calls. The Prime Minister needs to bring in ambulance officers and vehicles from interstate.'

Cost of addressing healthcare issues caused by the flood: $15 million

Public housing

One-third of public housing was damaged in the floods and is no longer fit for living in. As a result, the public shelters have become overcrowded with desperate families.

'We've had to find temporary accommodation for more than 4,000 families. Tonight we'll have 17,000 people sleeping on the floors of schools, shopping centres and our local community centres, including lots of small children. They don't cope with it terribly well, the little ones. It can't go on like this forever. The whole situation is chaos.'

Cost of addressing public housing issues caused by the flood: $23 million

Roads

Roads are in urgent need of repair. Flood damage has made many bridges and causeways impassable, hampering the recovery effort and leaving thousands of residents stranded. Feasibility studies will be required to rebuild major roads in a way that makes them flood-proof.

'You just can't imagine the damage. In 30 years I've never seen anything like it. There's a whole suburb of families over that bridge that can only be reached by air. They're stranded. We've already had to airlift a pregnant woman out. We need earthmovers, rollers, compactors and a dozen crews out here. Now.'

Cost of addressing roadwork issues caused by the flood: $130 million

Courts

No court buildings suffered significant damage in the floods. However, local courts are beginning to experience a wave of cases related to property disputes, insurance claims and looting offences.

'Unfortunately, whenever there is a natural disaster, some members within the community will seek to exploit the situation. I suspect the next 12 months will be a very busy time in the courts. We could certainly do with more magistrates, legal secretaries and depositions clerks.'

Cost of addressing pressure on courts caused by the flood: $11 million

Parks and recreation

Parks and walkways along the Greenville River remain submerged. The banks of the river have collapsed in the centre of the city, making the riverbank treacherous. Hazardous playgrounds and sports fields will remain closed for up to three months and some of the recreation centres are completely destroyed.

'I used to bring the kids down here after school. Now there's nowhere to take them. They have nowhere to play footy. They can't ride their bikes along the riverbank. I know the city is in a crisis but people still need somewhere to meet. Maybe even more so right now, to keep our spirits up.'

Cost of repairing damage to parks and recreation facilities caused by the flood: $38 million

Defence

A joint taskforce of boats, vehicles and personnel is working around the clock to assist emergency services in the search and recovery effort, clearance of the Greenville River and Greenville Bay shipping channels, and general cleaning up.

'We were recalled from an important training mission in Papua New Guinea. This clean-up is going to take months. We will certainly need additional troops and materials to maintain our existing operational commitments throughout the world.'

Cost of supporting defence force efforts to help with the flood: $22 million

Schools

A total of 55 primary and secondary schools across Greenville have been closed due to flood damage. Engineers estimate it will be eight weeks before the flood waters recede and safety checks can be conducted. There are a few schools that were completely destroyed. A further 10 schools have cancelled classes because they are being used as evacuation centres.

'We are one of the few schools still operating, so we've taken in students from everywhere else. Despite this, there are thousands of kids who still have nowhere to go, which means their parents can't return to work. We need hundreds of temporary classrooms, and we need them now.'

Cost of building temporary classrooms and repairing damage to schools caused by the flood: $100 million

Garbage and recycling

The flood has washed tonnes of garbage through the streets of Greenville. This could easily become a serious health hazard if it is not removed. With some roads closed due to flooding and damage, the city's head of waste engineering has identified river barges and helicopters as the most effective methods of transporting garbage. These are expensive options.

'The garbage is piling up and there's no easy way of getting it shifted. With all the water lying around, the garbage will start to rot if we don't get it moved. Looks like we might even have to fly some of it out.'

Cost of increasing garbage and recycling services to overcome problems caused by the flood: $35 million

Your emergency response budget

Fixing all of Greenville's flood problems is going to cost $374 million. Unfortunately, there is only $250 million available in emergency response funding. You have six pre-defined budgets to choose from. Some budgets direct funding towards roads and health, others towards garbage collection and defence. You've got some tough choices to make.

The total funding required to fix each problem is:

Roads: $130m
Public housing: $23m
Healthcare services: $15m
Courts: $11m
Defence: $22m
Schools: $100m
Garbage and recycling: $35m
Parks and recreation: $38m

For example, to fix all of the roads will cost $130 million, and to fix the hospital will cost $15 million.

Budget 1: even reductions across all sectors

 even reductions across all sectorsRoads: $87m (out of $130m)

Public housing: $15.4m (out of $23m)

Healthcare services: $10m (out of $15m)

Courts: $7.3m (out of $11m)

Defence: $14.7m (out of $22m)

Schools: $66.8m (out of $100m)

Garbage and recycling: $23.4m (out of $35m)

Parks and recreation: $25.4m (out of $38m)

Budget 2: roads and health

 roads and healthRoads: $125m (out of $130m)

Public housing: $9.9m (out of $23m)

Healthcare services: $15m (out of $15m)

Courts: $6.3m (out of $11m)

Defence: $10.4m (out of $22m)

Schools: $56.8m (out of $100m)

Garbage and recycling: $5m (out of $35m)

Parks and recreation: $21.6m (out of $38m)

Budget 3: roads and garbage

 roads and garbageRoads: $120m (out of $130m)

Public housing: $9.2m (out of $23m)

Healthcare services: $4m (out of $15m)

Courts: $5.4m (out of $11m)

Defence: $8.8m (out of $22m)

Schools: $49m (out of $100m)

Garbage and recycling: $35m (out of $35m)

Parks and recreation: $18.6m (out of $38m)

Budget 4: roads, health and garbage

 roads, health and garbageRoads: $104m (out of $130m)

Public housing: $12.5m (out of $23m)

Healthcare services: $12m (out of $15m)

Courts: $6m (out of $11m)

Defence: $12m (out of $22m)

Schools: $54.7m (out of $100m)

Garbage and recycling: $28m (out of $35m)

Parks and recreation: $20.8m (out of $38m)

Budget 5: roads, health and garbage

 roads, health and garbageRoads: $130m (out of $130m)

Public housing: $8.3m (out of $23m)

Healthcare services: $15m (out of $15m)

Courts: $4m (out of $11m)

Defence: $7.9m (out of $22m)

Schools: $36.1m (out of $100m)

Garbage and recycling: $35m (out of $35m)

Parks and recreation: $13.7m (out of $38m)

Budget 6: roads, health and garbage

 roads, health and garbageRoads: $117m (out of $130m)

Public housing: $13.8m (out of $23m)

Healthcare services: $13.5m (out of $15m)

Courts: $4.5m (out of $11m)

Defence: $13.2m (out of $22m)

Schools: $41m (out of $100m)

Garbage and recycling: $31.5m (out of $35m)

Parks and recreation: $15.5 (out of $38m)

Budget reactions

Each budget produces a different reaction from Greenville's residents, depending on how you've decided to use your emergency funds. This reaction is gauged through media reports and social media feeds.

Budget 1

The Greenville Gazette: Prime Minister fails to prioritise
Emergency budget cuts ordered by the Prime Minister have received a weak response from Greenville community leaders. The 'across the board' cuts reduced all funding streams by one third, failing to direct money to priority services such as healthcare and garbage collection.

This timid approach has failed to fix the city's problems and has left many questioning the Prime Minister's ability to make tough decisions during times of crisis.

Social media response

Joe @ parktown
'The city's underwater and the Prime Minister REDUCES health funding? Are you kidding me?'

Fiona @ 786
'I'm glad schools managed to hang on to some of their funding, but this money isn't going to fix anything.'

Greg @ doonside
'Looks like they're patching a few of the main roads up, which is good, but I can't get to them because the side streets are still blocked!'

Budget 2

The Greenville Gazette: Health, roads big winners
The Prime Minister has made drastic changes to Greenville's budget, directing emergency funding to the city's hospitals and roads in a bid to get the city operating as quickly as possible.

While many have applauded this move, early feedback suggests that too many cuts were made to other services such as garbage collection, housing and defence. Refuse continues to pile up on Greenville's streets and approximately 4,000 families remain in emergency accommodation throughout the city.

Social media response

Joe @ parktown
'Great to see the hospitals getting the nod, but the garbage around my property is getting out of control. There are rats and flies everywhere.'

Fiona @ 786
'Our school is still closed and many of the families are forced to camp in our local gym. Who's looking after these people?'

Greg @ doonside
'I hear they're getting a few essential services sorted out, but from where I am the city still looks like a war zone. Come on, PM, you've got to do something!'

Budget 3

The Greenville Gazette: PM slashes healthcare
Drastic budget cuts enforced by the Prime Minister have enraged Greenville residents, who claim the new funding model will only increase their suffering.

Funding for healthcare was slashed, along with schools, housing and defence. Road repairs and garbage collection were made priorities in what can only be described as a desperate and rushed attempt to get the city back on track.

Many Greenville residents are now questioning the Prime Minister's ability to manage the increasingly desperate situation now facing the city.

Social media response

Joe @ parktown
'You have got to be kidding me! Slash healthcare funding? Did the PM fail to notice the DISASTER outside the window?'

Fiona @ 786
'Everyone's really scared. If disease breaks out or someone gets injured, how are they going to be treated? We need hospital funding now!'

Greg @ doonside
'Roads and garbage are one thing, but you've got to look at the big picture. The city needs leadership!'

Budget 4

The Greenville Gazette: Additional funding needed urgently
The Prime Minister has redirected part of Greenville's budget towards urgent needs such as healthcare, garbage collection and road repair.

While there is a general understanding among Greenville's population as to why these steps have been taken, many are questioning the level of funding cuts to crucial services such as public housing, defence and schools.

Others argue that the funding increases don't go far enough, leaving hospitals short of staff, road repairs incomplete and garbage still in the streets.

Social media response

Joe @ parktown
'I hear they've increased funding for road repair and hospitals, but I can't see much work going on near me. I guess they're concentrating on the centre of the city?'

Fiona @ 786
'I've just spoken to one of the families staying at the local gym and they're getting pretty fed up with the whole situation. They had to wait over five hours at the hospital the other night when their little boy became ill. It's not good.'

Greg @ doonside
'The garbage on my street finally got cleaned up today, hooray! Too bad most of our friends are still waiting for the same service. I guess you've got to be patient in these situations.'

Budget 5

The Greenville Gazette: PM cuts deep
The Prime Minister's emergency response budget has made substantial cuts to a number of sectors, redirecting this money to provide complete funding for healthcare, garbage collection and road repair.

With the hospitals and roads back in working order and garbage off the streets, many are applauding the Prime Minister's decision. Yet critics of the new budget argue that the huge cuts to public housing, schools and defence were disproportionate. Some people are calling for a more reasonable distribution of funds for the citizens of Greenville.

Social media response

Joe @ parktown
'Roads are back and the garbage in front of my house was taken away this morning. Loving it. My aunt is still living in the local sports centre though …'

Fiona @ 786
'Looks like we won't be going back to school anytime soon. Oh well, at least the hospitals are sorted. I just wish they'd do something about the public housing situation.'

Greg @ doonside
'It's weird when you see your city's priorities reduced to garbage, roads and hospitals! I guess I can't complain too much. I feel sorry for those families without a home.'

Budget 6

The Greenville Gazette: PM takes charge
The Prime Minister has taken charge of Greenville's disaster recovery taskforce, directing substantial funding towards vital services such as healthcare, sanitation and road repair. Public housing and defence personnel will also receive emergency funds, although schools and other community services will have to wait.

While some are sure to be unhappy with these changes, many Greenville residents have welcomed the move, designed to get the city up and running as quickly as possible.

Social media response

Joe @ parktown
'I'm starting to see the roads cleared around our house and they've taken the garbage away. There's still plenty to do but things seem to be moving along nicely.'

Fiona @ 786
'Our poor old school will have to wait, but the hospitals and housing situation are really improving. They can now get the supply trucks through with fresh water and food.'

Greg @ doonside
'Good to see the PM making the tough decisions. I'm off to volunteer with a local clean-up crew.'

Summary

Good work!

You have succeeded in getting all three critical aspects of community wellbeing back to stable levels. You have now finished Tax in your community.

  • Fact 6

    'Bottom of the harbour' schemes were a form of tax avoidance used in Australia in the 1970s. The 'harbour' referred to was Sydney Harbour, which was near the financial district. Participation in the schemes was made a criminal offence in 1980.

Tax Help

A free service sponsored and administered by the ATO where trained and accredited volunteers from the community assist low-income taxpayers to complete their tax return.

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