$9b hole in our tax sys­tem

ATO ad­mits miss­ing out on rev­enue

The Gympie Times - - MOTORING -

THE ATO has ad­mit­ted it will miss about $8.7 bil­lion in in­come tax this year.

The fig­ure came out in a brief­ing to the me­dia and amaz­ingly it only ex­pects to track down about $500 mil­lion and get it back into the sys­tem.

The ad­mis­sion is be­cause peo­ple will un­der­quote what they earn or play the sys­tem to get de­duc­tions they shouldn’t.

But for all the talk about get­ting tough on multi­na­tion­als, it seems like it’s time to get se­ri­ous about our own af­fairs.

Does the ATO need more peo­ple, bet­ter tech­nol­ogy or tougher laws to stop this?

What­ever it wants, the govern­ment should give it; $8.7 bil­lion isn’t a leak, it’s a flood of money we need to bal­ance the bud­get, pay for things to be built or, dare I say, pay back the half a tril­lion dol­lars we owe the rest of the world.

PM set­ting power bill hur­dle too high

This week we got a ma­jor plan to bring down power prices from the Com­pe­ti­tion and Con­sumer Com­mis­sion.

While there’s no sin­gle sil­ver bul­let, the com­mis­sion fired a few, such as get­ting govern­ment to set min­i­mum prices for any­one who wants to add to baseload power.

This would mean you could spend bil­lions on a coal-fired power sta­tion and know you will get a cer­tain amount of money back for the in­vest­ment over the next 15 years.

But of course, we all know how this goes.

Left­ies are coal snobs.

They are happy for us to make bil­lions from dig­ging it up and send­ing it to poor coun­tries to burn for power, but we can’t burn it here.

No, they pre­fer bil­lions be­ing spent on wind farms and so­lar, which are weather de­pen­dent and don’t have any way of stor­ing the power our big coun­try needs. But we have all heard this ar­gu­ment be­fore.

My con­cern this week is the Prime Min­is­ter paint­ing him­self into a cor­ner about power prices.

He wants to own this is­sue and be­lieves his na­tional en­ergy guar­an­tee will bring down prices, but the prob­lem is if it does, it won’t be by much.

Mr Turn­bull is in a bind here; he chose to make power prices, now power re­li­a­bil­ity, a fed­eral is­sue, even though suc­ces­sive state gov­ern­ments have sold off their power com­pa­nies and these com­pa­nies are now free to charge like wounded bulls.

These com­pa­nies also know there is more money in build­ing re­new­ables, not the coal plants that work.

Now it’s true that whole­sale prices have fallen a lit­tle, and power com­pa­nies are say­ing they are go­ing to pass on the sav­ings, but we are talk­ing $20 or $30 a year for cus­tomers.

So for­give us if we don’t hold a pa­rade for the PM in the streets when bills have gone up by hun­dreds in the past few years.

The po­lit­i­cal dan­ger for Mr Turn­bull is while he can say prices have tech­ni­cally fallen, when they are just a frac­tion be­low record highs, no one is go­ing to say “thank you”.

The only thing worse is Mr Shorten’s pledge to race us to 50/50 re­new­ables in the next 12 years, forc­ing bil­lions to be spent build­ing the wind and so­lar that is, once again, weather de­pen­dent and un­able to store the power we need to keep the lights on in 2020.

Photo: iStock

MONEY TROU­BLES: It’s time to crack down on those who play the tax sys­tem to ad­dress the miss­ing bil­lions.

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