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AMA National Conference condemns Government decision to cap tax deductions for work-related medical self-education

25 May 2013

An urgency motion condemning the Federal Government’s decisions to cap tax deductions for work-related medical self-education expenses was passed unanimously at the AMA National Conference in Sydney today.

The urgency motion read:

That National Conference requests Federal Council to call on the Commonwealth Government to urgently reverse the introduction of a $2000 cap on tax deductibility of work related self-education expenses based on its potential to negatively impact on the safety and quality of healthcare delivered to Australian patients. The effects of this policy are particularly pronounced for the medical profession because of extensive vocational training and continuing professional development requirements.

The AMA believes that the Government’s decision:

  • Provides a disincentive for doctors to maintain ongoing education and training at a time of rapid evolution in medical knowledge;
  • Disproportionately affects doctors practising in rural and remote regions because of the high costs associated with regional travel and professional development activities;
  • Is inconsistent with legislation that requires doctors to hold, maintain and update qualifications and skill enabling them to provide high quality care; and
  • Fails to recognise the existing Australian Taxation Office directives already in place to regulate tax deductions for work related self-education expenses.

The issue was raised with Health Minister, Tanya Plibersek, and Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing, Peter Dutton, when they attended the Conference yesterday, but neither could provide guarantees that the policy would be reversed.

The Minister offered consultation on the issue, but could not assure the Conference that genuine medical training would be exempt from the cap, and the Shadow Minister could not guarantee that the Coalition would reverse the decision should it win Government in September.

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said doctors must learn new technologies, surgical techniques, treatments and pharmaceuticals if they are to provide the best possible care to save lives and improve quality of life for their patients.

25 May 2013

CONTACT:         John Flannery                       02 6270 5477 / 0419 494 761
                          Kirsty Waterford                  02 6270 5464 / 0427 209 753

Published: 25 May 2013