The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Wayne Swan

Wayne Swan

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer

3 December 2007 - 27 June 2013

20 March 2011

NO.020

Tax Forum in October to Build on Reform Agenda

Over two days in October, the Gillard Government looks forward to hosting approximately 150 representatives of community groups, businesses, unions, and governments, as well as academics and tax practitioners, at a forum to discuss ways to build on our ambitious tax reform agenda.

The Tax Forum will be held at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday October 4 and Wednesday October 5. More details will be announced and invitations will be issued in the coming months, and I'll also release a discussion paper in the middle of the year to help foster the debate.

The Government is implementing a substantial tax reform agenda to strengthen and broaden the economy, and maximise the opportunities of the mining boom by cutting small business taxes, boosting super and building more regional infrastructure.

The forum will continue the decade-long conversation we started with the release of Australia's Future Tax System (AFTS) Review last year. It will focus on the broad sweep of topics in the Review, with sessions to discuss personal tax, transfer payments, business tax, state taxes, environmental and social taxes, and system governance.

We look forward to engaging with the community and hearing what the representatives of millions of Australians have to say about building on our ambitious tax reform agenda. We will also explore ways for participants and the general public to make submissions and comments, which can be uploaded onto a dedicated website, prior to the Tax Forum.

The Tax Forum will assist the Government in prioritising our agenda for further tax reform.

In response to the AFTS Review, the Government last year announced a comprehensive plan to get a fairer return for the nation's non-renewable resources and promote growth across the economy. The Government also announced measures to simplify tax for small business and individual taxpayers, and reward savings outside of superannuation through a tax discount on interest income.

These are significant reforms, but in the years ahead Australia will continue to face important decisions to ensure our tax system shares prosperity fairly and maximises the opportunities that will flow from the growth of our neighbouring economies in this, the Asian Century.

We are particularly focused on the need to better reward the hard work of Australians who participate in our workforce and help make our economy such a standout performer.

The Tax Forum will help identify those reforms that have broad agreement across the community, and will also provide valuable insight into the competing priorities that must be weighed against one another in a fiscally-constrained environment.

We've made it very clear there are parts of the AFTS Review we won't be implementing, and that we won't increase the GST, but we still expect and welcome a broad and constructive discussion.

The Tax Forum will be followed by a debate in Parliament to give all MPs and Senators the chance to have their say on these significant issues for Australia's future prosperity.

I thank the crossbenchers and others in the community for their constructive suggestions about the organisation and structure of the forum, and I look forward to this important debate on the future priorities and challenges for Australia's tax and transfer system.

Enquiries in relation to the Tax Forum can be directed to taxforum@treasury.gov.au.

CANBERRA
20 March 2011