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Monday, 4 May 1987
Page: 2213

Senator BOLKUS —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Treasurer. I refer the Minister to a report in this morning's Canberra Times of the Chairman of the Australian Federation of Employers, Mr Andrew Hay, saying:

. . . the business community would be reluctant to endorse a tax reform package from the Opposition that failed to set rates of income tax under a 30 per cent ceiling.

Has the Minister seen any figures which would indicate who the beneficiaries would be if a tax package with a 30 per cent ceiling were to be implemented? If so, who would in fact be those beneficiaries?

Senator WALSH —I have seen the report to which Senator Bolkus referred in the Canberra Times today citing Mr Hay. I do have a breakdown here of some tax statistics by post code which demonstrates who the beneficiaries would be from a tax rate of 30c in the dollar, and I table the statistics concerned. As I said, it is based on post codes and that does not necessarily tell us anything about individuals, but it is well known that there are particular parts of Australia where average incomes are very much higher than they are in other parts. Therefore, anything which reduced the maximum tax rates would, on average, favour the people who live in those localities far more than it would favour people anywhere else. It is not an exhaustive list of post codes, incidentally, but what it shows is that there are very few post codes where the average rate of tax is above 30 per cent.

It follows necessarily from that that those few post codes cover the areas where the greatest beneficiaries of cutting average tax rates at that point reside. In Victoria the post code numbers are 3142, 3186 and 3101. The districts are Toorak, Brighton and Kew. Mr Hay, of course, has a Toorak address, as does that other extra-parliamentary pretender to the leadership of the Liberal Party, John Elliott. This demonstrates a fairly simple example of whose interests they are seeking to represent. If a person has a Toorak class of income, he would benefit. If he does not, he would not; indeed, he would lose out in the exercise. In New South Wales the two post codes with average tax rates above 30 per cent are Turramurra and Spit Junction. There is also the 6009 post code in Western Australia, which would be quite familiar to Western Australians, and that is Nedlands, which covers, among other areas, the suburb of Peppermint Grove, which is said to have the highest rate of per capita income and wealth of any local government authority in Australia, probably by a margin of a couple of hundred per cent.

Finally, not the lowest but one of the lowest by postcode average rates of tax and, therefore, average income is the provincial centre of Wagga Wagga in New South Wales, which has a rate of 22 per cent. Ironically, it is the scene of one of the more successful rallies-successful in terms of numbers-conducted by the Bjelke-Petersen regime which demonstrates, of course, that the policies that Bjelke-Petersen is pushing, ironically, would harm the people of Wagga Wagga much more than they would harm the people of almost any other place in Australia.