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Media Release

Senator the Hon Ian Macdonald

Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government



7 February 2000 



"Labor’s claims that implementation of the Government’s New Tax System in the Departmen t of Transport and Regional Services will mean ‘less money for regional communities’ are fanciful and show a lack of understanding of Government accounting," Senator Ian Macdonald, Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government said today.

"Departmental officers’ evidence to the Senate Estimates Committee hearings in Canberra this morning made clear that GST compliance costs will come from operational, and not programme, expenditure," Senator Macdonald said.

"Only four of the more than 800 Departmental staff are working on GST matters. A small amount of time of other staff involved in the GST is also factored in," he said.

"In addition, a small amount is being spent on accountancy consultants, and enhancing the Department’s financial systems for the tax reforms, both on the mainland and in the external territories for which the portfolio is responsible.

"As officers made clear at the Parliamentary hearings this morning, the Department is well advanced in its preparations for implementing the GST.

"The Shadow Minister thinks spending on programmes administered by the Department will be affected. This is completely wrong.

It shows a regrettable lack of any ability to read the budget statements of the portfolio."

"But then again, an inability to manage financial matters is the hallmark of the Labor Party. In 13 years in office they managed to ignore the bush - and still run up a deficit," Senator Macdonald said.


Media Contact: David Moore: (07) 4771 3066 / (0417) 774 724



jy  2000-02-09  11:44