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Tax Office holds back closure announcements until after the election.

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Kelvin Thomson - Tax Office Holds Back Closure Announcements Until After The Election Monday, 05 November 2001

ALP News Statements

Tax Office Holds Back Closure Announcements Until After The Election Kelvin Thomson - Shadow Assistant Treasurer

Media Statement - 2 November 2001

Labor's Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Mr Kelvin Thomson, has accused the Australian Taxation Office of breaching its obligation to be politically independent by keeping secret its intention to close ATO Access Sites in Bankstown, Moonee Ponds, Box Hill and Cannington until after the federal election.

'Details of the cover-up are contained in a leaked e-mail. The internal e-mail advises that closure of the Bankstown, Moonee Ponds, Box Hill and Cannington ATO Access Sites has been set for Friday 14 December. The e-mail goes on to say that official internal and external communications will commence on 12 November 2001. Until this date, no pro-active action is to take place to communicate the closures to the public.

'12 November is of course the first working day after the federal election. The closure of Tax Office Access Sites represents another blow to the capacity of taxpayers to go to the Tax Office and physically speak with Tax Office personnel. The closure of ATO Access Sites will mean that these Tax Offices are off limits to the public. The shutters come down and they are boarded up. No members of the public can come in off the street and converse with anyone there.

'The Box Hill Tax Office, for example, is located in the marginal electorate of Chisholm, and it is no doubt to the Liberal Government's advantage that this closure should be kept secret until after the federal election.

'Keeping this announcement secret until after the election is a highly political act, and the Tax Office is right out of line here. The Tax Office must come clean about its plans for closure of the ATO Access Sites, and must come clean about any other plans it has for staffing or service reductions prior to Saturday week's federal election.'

Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.