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Harradine urged to reconsider in nation's interest



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MEDIA RELEASE Friday 14 May 1999

AUSTRALIAN

. FOOD AND GROCERY

COUNCIL

HARRADINE URGED TO RECONSIDER IN NATION'S INTEREST Statement b y the AFGC Executive Director, Mr Mitchell H Hooke

The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) is alarmed and profoundly disappointed at Senator Harradine's decision today, announced in the Senate, that he will oppose the introduction of a broad- based goods and services tax (GST).

Mr Hooke said, “We are alarmed at the economic and social consequences of this decision for all Australians, not just business. Few seriously argue against the imperative for tax reform. Australia's system is antiquated, complex, a burden to competitiveness, and will not sustain Australians and the economy into the next millennium We don’t accept that you can have comprehensive tax reform without a broad based GST.

“The counter-factual arguments to the Senator’s decision are that ■ the revenue base necessary to support the social programs that he so profoundly supports will be eroded; ■ there will be increased pressure to cut back on welfare payments, particularly family payments; ■ the indirect tax system will continue to hemorrhage; ■ the PAYE taxpayer will increasingly bear higher rates of tax; ■ the poverty traps for low income earners will mean that as a nation we will continue to “choose”

unemployment; and ■ there will be no radical reforms to State/Federal financial relations, so critical to the provision of health, education and social services in the States.

‘W e are disappointed because of the considerable lengths this organisation went to, and the industry it represents, to ensure compensation to the needy was adequate and politically durable.

‘W e proposed changes to the compensation arrangements in the Package consistent with the Prime Minister’s offer to Senator Harradine to improve the compensation measures.

‘ Wc have continued to advocate that the economic objectives of tax reform need not be in conflict with the soda! and moral responsibilities that go with it

1 W e wholeheartedly agree with the Senator that compensation should be adequate and should be durable. We do not agree that it cannot be sustained as part of tax reform.

“The passage of the ANTS Package through the Senate, without any compromise to its structural integrity, is the critical first phase of comprehensive business tax reform.

‘W e sincerely hope that Senator Harradine will hear the cacophony o f protest at his decision, and reconsider that decision in the nation’s interests.

“The food and grocery products industry has solidly maintained its position of support for comprehensive tax reform, notwithstanding that there will be winners and losers in our industry.

“That’s the price we are prepared to pay for tax reform. We do not expect the needy to bear that price and sincerely set about ensuring that that was not the case.

‘W e can only implore the Senator to accept that many in business are committed to making sure that compensation arrangements are adequate and durable,” said Mr Hooke.

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AFGC represents Australia’s largest manufacturing industry of consumer food, drink and grocery products

Contact: Mr Mitchell H Hooke or Lina Melero Ph 02 6273 1466 or 0417 667169 Aap

PLS Resource Development

M E D IA RELEASE Friday 14 May 1999

AUSTRALI AN F O O D AND GROCERY COUNCIL

HARRADINE URGED T O RECONSIDER IN NATION'S INTEREST Statem ent b y the AFGC Executive Director, M r M itchell H H ooke

The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) is alarmed and profoundly disappointed at Senator Harradine's decision today, announced in the Senate, that he will oppose the introduction o f a broad- based goods and services tax (GST).

Mr Hooke said, “We are alarmed at the economic and social consequences o f this decision for all Australians, not just business. Few seriously argue against the imperative for tax reform. Australia's system is antiquated, complex, a burden to competitiveness, and will not sustain Australians and the economy into the next millennium. We don’t accept that you can have comprehensive tax reform without a broad based GST.

“The counter-factual arguments to the Senator’s decision are th a t ■ the revenue base necessary to support the social programs that he so profoundly supports will be eroded;

■ there will be increased pressure to cut back on welfare payments, particularly family payments; ■ the indirect tax system will continue to hemorrhage; .

■ the PAYE taxpayer will increasingly bear higher rates o f tax; ■ the poverty traps for low income earners will mean that as a nation we will continue to “choose” unemployment; and * there will be no radical reforms to State/Federal financial relations, so critical to the provision o f

health, education and social services in the States.

‘W e are disappointed because o f the considerable lengths this organisation went to, and the industry it represents, to ensure compensation to the needy was adequate and politically durable.

‘W e proposed changes to the compensation arrangements in the Package consistent with the Prime Minister’s offer to Senator H am dine to improve the compensation measures.

“W c have continued to advocate that the economic objectives o f tax reform need n ot be in conflict w ith the soda! and moral responsibilities that go with i t

‘W e wholeheartedly agree with the Senator that compensation should be adequate and should be durable. We do not agree that it cannot be sustained as part o f tax reform.

“The passage o f the ANTS Package through the Senate, without any compromise to its structural integrity, is the critical first phase o f comprehensive business tax reform.

“We sincerely hope that Senator Harradine will hear the cacophony o f protest at his decision, and reconsider that decision in the nation’s interests.

“The food and grocery products industry has solidly maintained its position o f support for comprehensive tax reform, notwithstanding that there will be winners and losers in our industry.

“That's the price we are prepared to pay for tax reform. We do not expect the needy to hear that price and sincerely set about ensuring that that was not the case.

‘W e can only implore the Senator to accept that many in business are committed to making sure that

Contact: Mr Mitchell H Hooke or Lina Melero Ph 02 6273 1466 or 0417 667165