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Thursday, 9 December 1971
Page: 4388


Mr HUGHES (BEROWRA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - My question is directed to the Treasurer. In view of the indication contained in his answer a few minutes ago to the Leader of the Opposition that the staff resources of the Taxation Office are not sufficient to cope with the great demands upon them to investigate and endeavour to plug up loopholes in relation to tax avoidance, will the Treasurer reconsider a suggestion I made not very long ago to the effect that the time might be appropriate to appoint another specialist committee like the Ligertwood Committee, which sat in 1960 and 1961, to supplement the activities of the Taxation Office in relation to tax avoidance?


Mr SNEDDEN - I have been giving consideration to this matter. The elements involved are what sort of issues should be looked at by such a committee and, if a committee were appointed, to what degree must it be serviced by, the very same officers who are doing the work themselves and to what extent, therefore, would it detract from the work performance of those officers. Unfortunately, like parliamentary counsel, these experienced officers cannot just be created. They are of a special type, being a combination of intellect and character. The other thing which these officers are involved in at present, and this is by chance, is the negotiation of a series of double tax agreements. For a number of years we did not have them, but we are now in the course of vigorously achieving them. We have a list of countries in order of priority, so to speak, and the same sort of officers are used in that pursuit. I will continue an examination to see whether they can be helped by an outside committee without detracting from their work performance.







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