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Thursday, 1 March 2012
Page: 2520


Mr OAKESHOTT (Lyne) (14:29): My question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, at the October tax forum, the Business Council of Australia made the sensible call for government to provide Australia with a 10-year comprehensive tax road map on the back of the Henry tax review. In the last sitting week, this House moved a unanimous motion instructing you to do this prior to the May budget. Treasurer, are you going to listen to the combined voices of the House of Representatives and the Business Council of Australia and, if so, can you provide details on how and when you will follow this instruction?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:29): I thank the member for his very good question, because this government has an impressive record of tax reform. The first reform recommended by the tax review was for a resource rent tax, which has now passed this House and is up in the Senate. It is a very important tax because it gives us a revenue stream which enables us to implement some of the other recommendations of the tax review, including a very substantial tax cut for small business.

The member asked what the future for tax reform is in terms of all of those measures that we have already implemented that have been recommended by Henry. We had a very good forum in this parliament at the end of last year. And when it comes to business taxation, for example, we currently have a business taxation reform group which is working on a number of issues, which I am sure all members will be very interested in because we need to take into account the patchwork nature of our economy and that there are some businesses out there doing it tough, particularly when it comes to the non-resource sector.

I expect to receive that report from that group sometime in the next month or so. In the context of that, the government will be considering a range of measures for possible inclusion in a future budget and responding to the agenda that has been put down by the members. So we are working our way through a range of issues. I take the motion seriously. We have a substantial record of tax reform, both personal tax and business tax, and we do intend to progress that over the months ahead.

Mr OAKESHOTT (Lyne) (14:31): Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question of the Treasurer. In the theme of other supplementaries, can you explain the impacts on the seat of Lyne by your not doing comprehensive tax reform, if that is the message that you are giving the House today?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:31): It is not the message I am giving the House today. There are tens of thousands of small businesses in the seat of Lyne which will receive a very substantial tax cut, a big boost, a $6,500 instant asset write-off, a huge boost to their cash flow, and that is all coming when the Senate votes on that legislation in the next couple of months. So there is already very substantial tax reform.

We have already put in place very substantial reform to income tax rates—three lots of tax cuts—but I do agree that there is an agenda for the future. We are happy to work with the parliament and the Independent members of this parliament to progress those reforms. We are receiving reports from the business tax working group, and the government will be considering all of these matters in the budget context. So there is substantial tax reform for the electors of Lyne, substantial tax reform right across this country, particularly for small business, and a substantial boost to the superannuation savings of Australian workers. That is a pretty good record.