NSW Premier Mike Baird should focus on improving primary care to keep people out of NSW hospitals, instead of asking his friends in the Abbott Government to up the GST, according to Unions NSW.

Mr Baird has today called for the GST to be raised to 15 per cent to pay for healthcare in NSW.

But Unions NSW Secretary Mark Lennon said there were myriad problems with the Premier’s proposal.

“The GST hits ordinary working families the hardest,” Mr Lennon said.

“The price of everything shoots up overnight and that can be a real shock to households already struggling with the high cost of living in NSW.

“Mr Baird’s argument, that such a destructive tax is the only way to fund NSW’s hospital system, is flawed. If the Premier was really serious about taking pressure of our hospitals he would be looking to improve primary and preventive healthcare in this state, which medical experts say would keep people out of hospital in the first place.

“There are smarter ways of improving our health system then asking Canberra to stick its hand in the pockets of ordinary NSW families who are already struggling to keep up with the cost of living.”

Mr Lennon said the Premier’s reassurances that those on less than $100,000 would be compensated rang hollow.

“If Mr Baird was sincere about making sure people on less than $100,000 are not affected why introduce this elaborate money-go-round in the first place?” Mr Lennon questioned.

“Taking money out of someone’s pocket to allegedly redistribute it to them later is an economist’s nightmare. If Mr Baird thinks extra tax is the answer, and he really wants to target the wealthy alone, then why not just target them in the first place?

“Why ask Canberra to strip money from ordinary NSW families first and then claim to redistribute after the event? To borrow a phrase from the Federal Treasurer, Mr Baird’s whole plan fails the sniff test.”

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