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

28 July 2011


Joint Media Release
The Hon Bill Shorten MP
Assistant Treasurer
Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation

Tax Forum Discussion Paper

Today we release a discussion paper to inform public debate on priorities and directions for continuing tax reform in the lead-up to the Tax Forum on 4-5 October.

The Government has put in place a series of major reforms to build a stronger, fairer and simpler tax system, and the upcoming Tax Forum will help us build on that strong record of tax reform.

The Tax Forum will also help identify further reforms to make the most of the opportunities and challenges ahead for Australia, such as the shift in global economic weight from West to East, the ageing of the population and the transition to a clean-energy future.

The Tax Forum will help identify further reforms which build on the Government’s priorities of:

  • making our economy stronger, by boosting participation and productivity, and providing better incentives to work, save and invest;
  • making our tax system fairer, by ensuring concessions are appropriately targeted and tax rules achieve their original policy intent; and
  • making our tax system simpler, by removing unnecessary complexity.

The discussion paper outlines a range of ideas that were raised in the Australia’s Future Tax System Review that are likely to be discussed at the Tax Forum.

The discussion paper includes a section on each of the six sessions that will be held at the forum: personal tax; transfer payments; business tax; state taxes; environmental and social taxes; and tax system governance.

It also emphasises the Government’s commitment to fiscal discipline, and the need for proposals that cut tax to also identify how they will be funded.

Today we are also releasing an initial invitation list for the forum which sets out participants and observers who have been selected, and also explains how others will be chosen.

  • Forty-eight participants and 21 observers have been selected for direct invitation.
  • Fifty-six participants and five observers will be chosen by the leaders of organisations named in the list.
  • A further 52 participants and 20 observers will be selected through an expression of interest process which opens today.

Individuals who would like to apply for selection as a participant or an observer through this expression of interest process should apply online by Friday 12 August.

The discussion paper, initial invitation list and online expression of interest form are available at the Tax Forum website at

The website also provides participants and other Australians with the chance to have their say on options for further reform, by uploading submissions and comments.

The Government has made reforming our tax and transfer system a priority since coming to office:

  • In the 2008 Budget, we delivered the first of three rounds of personal income tax cuts, and commissioned the Australia’s Future Tax System Review (tax review).
  • In the 2009 Budget, we announced the Secure and Sustainable Pension Reforms, which delivered an historic increase in the rate of the pension, strengthened indexation so the pension keeps up with the cost of living, introduced a new Work Bonus, and announced a gradual increase in the age pension age.
  • In May 2010, we announced our Stronger, Fairer, Simpler package of reforms to get a fairer return on our non-renewable resources and support growth across the entire economy, including by cutting the company tax rate, providing tax breaks for all small businesses, boosting superannuation and making it fairer, and investing in regional infrastructure.
  • In the 12 months that followed, we announced a further 12 measures that deliver on reform directions identified by the tax review, including important reforms in this year’s Budget to boost workforce participation.
  • Most recently, our Clean Energy Future package included major reforms which triple the tax-free threshold and take around one million extra Australians out of the tax system.
The Tax Forum is an important opportunity to get a broad cross-section of views on priorities and directions for further reforming our tax and transfer system.

28 July 2011