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Government censors GST revenue forecasts.



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Craig Emerson MP

Federal Member for Rankin

PO Box 349, Woodridge Qld 4114

Ph. (07) 3299 5910 Fax. (07) 3208 8744

 

FOR MEDIA

 

16 February 1999

 

GOVERNMENT CENSORS GST REVENUE FORECASTS

 

The Government’s fears about the revenue-raising ability of the existing indirect tax system compared with the GST were revealed tonight when it refused to allow independent revenue forecasts to be tabled in the parliament.

 

Labor Member for Rankin, Craig Emerson, produced revenue projections (attached) which forecast that revenue growth from the existing indirect tax system will be as fast as that of the GST - and that revenue from both systems will grow at about the same rate as the economy.

 

Mr Emerson said “These revenue forecasts undermine the Treasurer’s oft-repeated claim that the existing sales tax system is broken and a GST is needed to meet Australia’s future revenue needs.

 

‘The Government’s refusal to have the forecasts incorporated into the Hansard reveals its anxiety about the truth coming out - that the existing system is as much a growth tax as a GST”.

 

Treasury officials have admitted they have done no medium-term revenue forecasts for the existing system and the GST. Treasurer Costello has refused to ask them to do this any revenue forecasts.

 

The independent forecasts Mr Emerson sought to table were done by Professor Peter Dixon of Monash University and were commissioned by the Senate GST inquiry.

 

Mr Emerson said “Yesterday Coalition Senators walked out of the GST inquiry. shutting down the hearings.

 

“Tonight the Treasurer’s junior Minister, Mr Joe Hockey, refused to allow the independent expert revenue forecasts to be tabled.

 

“What is the Government trying to hide?”

 

Professor Dixon’s report says of the Government’s claims that the existing indirect tax system will raise insufficient revenue to meet Australia’s future revenue needs “we find no support for this proposition” (p. 5).

 

Mr Emerson called on the Government to produce official revenue projections so that the public could make its own judgement about the need for a GST to raise revenue.

 

Contact: Craig Emerson 0418 781 386

 

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