Australia Promised Full Debate On Tax Review
Monday, March 15, 2010
Following indications that the Australian government was thinking of a delay
to the release of the Henry tax review, the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, has now confirmed
that it will be issued in good time for a full debate on any proposed tax changes.
The government received the tax review at the end of last year, and said that
it would consider the review for release early in 2010, along with an initial
official response. The review, it had said, would lay the foundations for a
10-year plan for reform. Its release has also been widely anticipated as it
has caused uncertainty in some areas, particularly in the mineral resources
sector where there has been speculation of an increase in mining taxation.
However, earlier this month, following the announcement of the government’s
far-reaching health and hospital reforms, the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, was
reported as saying that he was now too involved and busy also to complete the
details of the government’s reaction to the tax review, and that there
was no target date for its release.
Various parties, however, continued to call for its early release, if only
to allay the speculation about its contents and about which of its recommendations
will eventually be taken up by the government. It seems that, under pressure,
the government has had to react.
In fact, in a radio interview, Wayne Swan confirmed that, while the government
was still pursuing its evaluation process, the tax review and the government’s
initial response would be published “in plenty of time for a full public
discussion about all of the issues raised.”
On being pressed on timing, he added that: “There will be plenty of time
to discuss the review of the independent tax committee. There will be a full
public debate in this country before the election.”