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More waste and mismanagement from Peter Costello.



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Media Statement

MARK LATHAM MP SHADOW TREASURER MANAGER OF OPPOSITION BUSINESS MEMBER FOR WERRIWA

21 July 2003

More waste and mismanagement from Peter Costello

Massive fraud against the GST has resulted in the loss of billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money and the Treasurer is doing nothing about it. This is yet another example of Peter Costello’s shocking waste and mismanagement of the Commonwealth budget.

According to a report in today’s Melbourne Age, as much as 10 per cent of GST revenue is being lost through false and fraudulent claims. This means that more than $3 billion is being lost from Commonwealth revenue, throwing more weight and pressure back onto honest PAYE taxpayers.

Many of these frauds involve organised criminals setting up false Tax File Numbers and false Australian Business Numbers. In August 2000 the House Standing Committee on Economics, Finance and Public Administration said that there were 65,000 potential duplicate TFNs, in addition to the 185,000 already identified by the Australian National Audit Office. Yet in the three years since then, the Government has done nothing and the problem has just kept growing.

When the GST was introduced in 2000, Peter Costello said that it would reduce the size of the black economy. Instead it has created a whole new black economy, particularly in cash industries where double-quoting is now commonplace - one quote for consumers who pay the GST and one for those who don’t.

The Government needs to give the ATO the power and resources it requires to crack down on false TFNs and ABNs and to put some integrity back into the GST system.

Meanwhile, the Government has let senior Defence executives rip off the taxpayer by not paying the Fringe Benefits Tax on free city car parking. Hundreds of senior executives have been getting this valuable perk untaxed and after years of mismanagement Defence now finds it owes the Tax Office $25 million.

On the day that HMAS Manoora deploys to the Solomon Islands and hundreds of soldiers and Federal Police pack their bags for their dangerous mission, money that should be spent keeping our soldiers safe and protecting Australia is being wasted on perks for Defence fat cats.

Peter Costello needs to stop giving vacuous speeches to the Sydney Institute and get back to doing his own job properly. Government waste and mismanagement are out of control.

Contact: Michael Cooney 0411 591 120 mob