Herald Sun

Tax re­form progress slammed

- TAX

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.

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