Tax reform progress slammed
LOBBY groups have taken aim at Canberra after both major parties appeared to put politics ahead of progress on tax reform.
Having called for submissions to a white paper on tax, the Government has already placed some potential initiatives in the “untouchable” file.
The Government has claimed it will never make changes to superannuation tax concessions and won’t be leading the charge to lift the GST rate or broaden its base, leaving that to the states to pursue, as they are the beneficiaries of GST revenue.
Treasurer Joe Hockey also reaffirmed his opposition to making changes to negative gearing rules, putting him at odds with the Reserve Bank.
Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen told ABC radio: “Joe Hockey has called for a mature debate about tax reform and then ruled out most tax reform.”
But the rub is the Labor Party does not agree with making changes to the GST either — meaning both parties faced heavy criticism yesterday.
Tax Institute president Ste- phen Healey said any serious conversation on tax reform needed to put the GST and state tax reform at its centre. “The time for intergovernmental platitudes has passed,” he said.
Business Council of Australia president Catherine Livingstone said yesterday was a “low point” for political leadership.
“Within hours of the Treasurer outlining a compelling case for the need for fundamental tax reform and rebalancing of the tax mix, both major parties began ruling out key elements,” Ms Livingstone said.