Tax, services and the division of power

SubjectCivics & Citizenship YearYear 7 CurriculumAC v9.0 Time150

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Students learn about the roles and responsibilities of the 3 levels of government, including the division of powers. They explore these responsibilities in relation to the collection of tax and the services that each level of government provides to the community. They consider the types of competing issues that influence how government revenue is spent and how consensus is reached on a course of action relating to the distribution of revenue for the common good.

Australian Curriculum or Syllabus

By the end of Year 7, students describe the key features of Australia’s system of government, and the principles and features of the Australian legal system. They explain the characteristics of Australian democracy. Students describe the nature of Australian society, its cultural and religious diversity, and identify the values that support cohesion in Australian society.

Students develop questions and locate, select and organise information from sources to investigate political and legal systems, and contemporary civic issues. They analyse information and identify perspectives and challenges related to political, legal or civic issues. They identify and describe the methods or strategies related to civic participation or action. Students use civics and citizenship concepts, terms and sources to create descriptions, explanations and arguments.

Content descriptions

Civics and Citizenship Knowledge and Understanding

The key features of Australia's system of government, including democracy, the Australian Constitution, responsible government and federalism. (AC9HC7K01)

How values based on freedom, respect, fairness and equality of opportunity can support social cohesion and democracy within Australian society. (AC9HC7K05)

Civics and Citizenship Skills

Locate, select and organise information, data and ideas from different sources. (AC9HC7S02)

Analyse information, data and ideas about political, legal or civic issues to identify and explain differences in perspectives and potential challenges. (AC9HC7S03)

Create descriptions, explanations and arguments using civics and citizenship knowledge, concepts and terms that reference evidence. (AC9HC7S05)

Teacher resources

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Village and the boy named Tax

Student learning resources

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The division of powers


The division of powers


Tax, services and the three levels of government


Taxes and spending

Video guide

Village and the boy named Tax

How to

Writing paragraphs in Civics and Citizenship


Government services and you

Fillable form

Government grant application


Government grant project starters

Suggested activity sequence

This sequence is intended as a framework to be modified and adapted by teachers to suit the needs of a class group. If you assign this activity to a class, your students will be assigned all student resources on their 'My learning' page. You can also hand-pick the resources students are assigned by selecting individual resources when you add a work item to a class in 'My classes'.

Part A: Division of powers

  1. As a class, read the Division of powers – Explainer
  2. Students consolidate their understanding of the division of powers by completing the interactive.
  3. Students read the Tax, services and the three levels of government – Explainer and complete the worksheet.

Part B: Tax and services

  1. Ask:
    • Where does the money come from to pay for the road outside the school?
    • Who pays for the sports fields we play on?
    • Who pays for the hospital that treats our illnesses?
    • Where does the money come from for these services?
    • Why are the services provided by government called ‘public services’?
  2. Play: Village and the Boy Named Tax. This video highlights a high school student’s perspective of the value of tax in the community.
  3. Students work in pairs to list services provided by government to their families and the local community
  4. Students read the Government services and you - Explainer. As they read, ask students to highlight the activities they did in the past few days. 
  5. Students add these services to the list they have already developed and code their list to indicate the level/s of government that have responsibility for each item (L = local, S=State or Territory, C= Commonwealth).
  6. Students write a paragraph explaining why it is necessary for people pay tax. Refer students to Writing paragraphs in Civics and Citizenship – Model

Part C: Modelling government decision-making about spending

  1. Announce that you are going to form a ‘Government Grant Review Panel’ which will consider applications for government grants and decide how tax revenue will be spent. The panel will comprise 2 representatives from each level of government, that is. local government, the state or territory government and the Australian Government. 
  2. Allocate the roles of government representatives: 2 students for each level of government, with the teacher (or a co-opted teacher) acting as the Panel Chair. 
  3. Divide the remainder of the class into citizen groups comprised of 4 or less students.
  4. Citizen groups prepare a government grant application based on an original idea or use the project starters for ideas if necessary and Government representatives develop criteria to judge grant applications.
  5. Organise a Government Grant Review Panel meeting and outline a meeting agenda:
    1. Introduction by the Chair.
    2. A brief (2 minute) presentation by representatives of each level of government explaining its sources of revenue and providing examples of services provided. 
    3. Each citizen group presents its grant application arguing why the grant should be approved.
    4. Grant Panel discusses the merits of each application with citizen groups observing. 
  6. Panel determines:
    • whether to approve the application, i.e. that the project meets the test of providing for the ‘common good’
    • the level/s of government that will fund the grant.
  7. Nominated panel members present the Panel’s decision in relation to each grant application, explain why the decision has been made and the level/s of government that will provide funding. 
  8. Students write a short statement (no more than 150 words) explaining how tax contributes to a cohesive society.