Community and business come together to call for tax reform

1 December 2014

Representatives from business and community sectors have begun a dialogue about tax reform to explore areas of agreement and disagreement ahead of the Government’s tax review next year.

“If we are to effect meaningful tax reform in Australia and encourage inclusive growth that benefits both business and the community, we need to present a case for change,” said Tom Pockett, Chairman of the Business Coalition for Tax Reform (BCTR).

Members of the BCTR, which brings together a range of business groups covering the broad spectrum of the Australian business community, are meeting with members of the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), representing community organisations and people on low incomes, in Sydney on Monday 15 December.

“The current tax system is not delivering the revenue we need to provide the services and supports we will all need into the future. Reform is necessary to ensure access to ensure equitable access to housing, education, secure jobs and income support,” said Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO of ACOSS.

“In order to address these issues adequately, the Government needs to ensure that the community, particularly those who are disadvantaged, are engaged in the tax reform process.”

“We are standing up for changes to Australia’s tax system that will promote fair, equitable and sustainable growth, for the benefit of all.”

Mr Pockett said: “Change will only be achieved when we have open dialogue between all the stakeholders about what this reform should look like and what its impacts may be.”

“While we may not be able to agree on all elements of reform, it is clear that tax reform is needed to address the key challenges facing Australia’s competitiveness, barriers to participation, employment creation and investment; complexity and reliance on inefficient taxes.”

“A more efficient tax system that supports economic growth, employment creation, investment and productivity will help strengthen the tax base for the future.”

“To ensure we get a wide range of views on this key issue, the forum will include representatives from key business and industry bodies, a range of civil society and community organisations, and independent academic and policy experts.

“Successful tax reform requires partnership between governments, community and business. We see BCTR and ACOSS working together as a critical step towards future reform.”

The forum is an opportunity for a range of stakeholders to address critical issues in our tax system, such as Australia’s budget challenge, sustainable growth, affordable housing, fairness, equity and simplicity.

STATEMENT OF INTENT: Tax reform for the common good

Media Contacts:
Fernando de Freitas (ACOSS) – 0419 626 155
Caryn Kakas (BCTR) – 0404257540

ACOSS is the national peak body for the community sector and advocates for people affected by poverty and inequality. Our members include organisations that represent people affected by poverty such as sole parents, older people, and people with disabilities; as well as major national charities, and peak bodies representing community services such as housing, employment and family services.

ACOSS has played a prominent role in tax reform for three decades. Our aims include: to ensure that National and State and Territory Governments have the revenue they need to provide essential benefit and services to the community and that this is done as fairly and efficiently as possible.

The BCTR acts as an umbrella group to bring together views of a range of Australia’s most important and influential business groups. Its members represent both large and small enterprises on tax reform issues.
The BCTR has been a major influence in the key tax reforms of the past two decades.

The principles underlying the BCTR’s vision for tax reform in Australia are simplicity, transparency and certainty, all of which underpin competitiveness. A successful tax system should also drive productivity, workforce participation, and balance economic efficiency with fairness and equity.