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Thursday, 18 May 1972
Page: 2807

Mr SNEDDEN (Bruce) (Treasurer) - by leave - On 11th April 1972 I announced that the Government had decided to institute a full-scale public inquiry into the overall operation of the taxation system. A high level Committee of Inquiry will be appointed to conduct the inquiry. In my statement of 11th April I said that the inquiry would have broad terms of reference and it would be expected to hear evidence on and conduct studies and investigations into the overall operation of the taxation system. The inquiry would, I said, permit a thorough public examination into the taxation system and put the Government in a position to have an overall look at tax policy. In conformity with those aims the Government has drawn up the following terms of reference for the inquiry:

1.   The functions of the Committee of Inquiry are -

(a)   to examine and inquire into the structure and operation of the present Commonwealth taxation system;

(b)   to formulate proposals for improving the Commonwealth taxation system, either by way of making changes in the present system, abolishing any existing form of taxation or introducing new forms of taxation; and

(c)   to report to the Treasurer of the Commonwealth accordingly.

2.   The Committee of Inquiry shall in carrying out its functions, do so in the light of the need to ensure a flow of revenue sufficient to meet the revenue requirements of the Commonwealth and have regard to -

(a)   The effects of the present Commonwealth taxation system, and of any proposals formulated by the Committee, upon the social economic and business organisation of the community and upon the economic and efficient use of the resources of Australia; and

(b)   The desirability of the Commonwealth taxation system being such that, so far as is practicable, there is a fair distribution of the burden of taxation, and revenue is raised by means that are not unduly complex and do not involve the public or the administration in undue difficulty, in convenience or expense.

3.   For the purposes of these terms of reference, the present Commonwealth taxation system shall be taken to be the system under which the Commonwealth raises revenue by means of the following forms of taxation: income tax; sales tax; estate duty; gift duty; duties of excise imposed for the purpose of raising general revenue, and duties of customs that correspond with duties of excise so imposed.

Consideration is being given to the membership of the Committee of Inquiry. A further announcement will be made when the members have been appointed.

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