Page 1195 - Week 03 - Thursday, 31 March 2011

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MR SPEAKER: Yes, and I believe that, whilst one might argue it is a question of opinion, it is consistent with the questions that are regularly asked in this place.

MS GALLAGHER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. My answer is that I cannot answer for the commissioner. She made some recommendations. This comes through the work she has done. We are happy to refer her idea to the taxation review. In fact, I think it has already been done. In relation to hypothecation, it has not been the position of this government to hypothecate revenue. However, I think, in terms of community interests in this matter, you cannot rule out hypothecation as a way of generating acceptance for raising revenue and expending it on certain activities. I do not think you can rule it out, but it has not been the practice of this government to hypothecate its revenue.

MR SMYTH: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Treasurer, what action will you take in response to the proposal from the commissioner about the proposal for an environmental tax and what advice have you asked for from your Treasury officials about such a tax?

MS GALLAGHER: I have not asked for any, because I am currently putting the budget together and it does not factor in the budget. My department is working hard on a range of other areas of advice for me and the government and this has just not factored. So let us just put that to bed right now.

In relation to whether it is an idea that has merit, it needs to be referred to the tax review and then the Assembly will be able to look at all of that and its recommendations in its entirety. No doubt, Mr Smyth, you will pick out the bits you like and leave the bits you do not like.

MR SMYTH: A supplementary question, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Smyth?

MR SMYTH: Treasurer, given that you have said you cannot rule out tax increases in the future, will you now confirm that you are not looking at any new revenue initiatives in the coming budget?

MS GALLAGHER: My comments as they appeared in the Canberra Times are correct. However, I would like to add—indeed, I have discussed it with the journalist who wrote the article, and I think it is important that I put it on the table at the moment—that there are normal adjustments to our revenue through our—

Mr Smyth: So what are they?

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