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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 August 2010) . . Page.. 3870 ..

Treasurer, why have you appointed as head of this review a person who is on the public record as having such a closed mind to the potential for effective taxation reform to boost employment and economic activity?

MS GALLAGHER: I see the Liberals’ campaign against the tax review continues—the only stakeholder group, if you can call them that, in the community that is opposed to the taxation review and, indeed, the people that have been appointed to the panel. I have not had one complaint from anyone in the ACT, other than you, other than the out-of-touch opposition that sits over there and bags processes. I have not had one complaint or issue of concern raised about the appointment of a former Treasurer in this place, a high-profile Canberran, a Canberran whose reputation is second to none, to chair this work on behalf of the ACT community.

Mr Quinlan brings with him a range of skills and experience which will benefit this tax review. I know that he comes to it with an open mind to engage with stakeholders, to commission pieces of work that will help inform the panel’s recommendations to government.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Smyth?

MR SMYTH: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Treasurer, why did you not include as an explicit term of reference for the inquiry the matter of enhancing economic activity and employment?

MS GALLAGHER: The review is around our taxation effort—our own-source revenue. That is what it is about. There are other areas within government that are charged with the responsibilities around business and economic development. This is a review into our own-source revenue—30 per cent of the budget—and making sure that our revenue effort is fair and equitable across the board. That is what this taxation review is about. It is not going to be everything to everybody. It is a difficult area of reform for any government—

Mr Smyth: So it is just about more taxes.

MS GALLAGHER: You have the terms of reference, Mr Smyth, and if you had concerns about them I would have imagined that you could have engaged with me around that and sought additional terms of reference or some sort of proactive involvement in this as the shadow treasurer instead of standing on the sidelines and throwing stones.

This review is to find recommendations on the overall efficacy of the tax system. It is to complement and build on the recently completed review of commonwealth taxation. It should be limited to taxes levied by the ACT government, consider options to ensure revenue certainty, provide sufficient revenue to ensure that important community services continue to be provided, and have regard to the unique economic, legislative and policy context of the ACT.

I imagine that if the panel wants to pursue additional interests such as the ones you have outlined, you could put that to them, Mr Smyth, and that they would consider that as part of their work.

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