Page 3142 - Week 10 - Thursday, 15 August 2013

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package released last year are modelled to their conclusion and are available to the shadow treasurer and, indeed, to anyone within last year's budget papers and this year's budget papers, most particularly the abolition of insurance duties, the changes to land tax and the changes to a number of other taxation lines.

Of course, over the duration of the taxation reform it will be for the government of the day to make determinations from one budget to the next about the pace of that reform. That, of course, brings into question in relation to the request from Mr Smyth matters that are clearly executive documents and are budget and cabinet in confidence. The government is certainly not in a position this afternoon to release budget and cabinet-in-confidence information. I do not think that is appropriate; I do not think any reasonable person would anticipate or expect that.

The government has indicated on numerous occasions that we will update five years in advance our intentions in relation to tax reform. That extends beyond the forward estimates period of the budget papers. That was made available last year, and I have indicated it will be a rolling five-year program whilst ever I am the Treasurer. I will update further this year the government's expectations of changes in the taxation system looking five years ahead. I think that is a reasonable level of disclosure and takes it beyond the next territory election where, if the Liberal Party wishes to litigate these again by way of the election campaign, they certainly can. It will be open to the opposition, indeed, to any candidate for public office to seek election in that 2016 election on the basis of either opposing any further tax reform or seeking to unwind the reforms that will have been undertaken to that point.

The government certainly is of the view that our intentions in relation to tax reform are clear. The range of policy options the government considered last year and will continue to consider in the context of future budgets are outlined in both the Henry tax review and the Quinlan tax review. They will also be subject to further considerations by the federal council on financial relations. I note that, if there is a change of government next month, it is the intention of the Liberal and National parties at a federal level to undertake a further review of taxation in this country, and that that review, I understand, will extend to taxes levied by state and territory governments.

This, of course, will be an ongoing national debate in relation to taxation reform. There will be a number of variables within that debate, and the government will respond to the variables from year to year and budget to budget. But we have indicated our desire to provide notice of our intentions both in terms of the broad philosophical approach to taxation reform and then in detail in rolling five-year updates and in extreme detail in the budget papers each year and projecting forward into the forward estimates.

The government is of the view that there is sufficient information available at this time and that we will make further information releases on our tax reform intent annually as part of the budget process and annually as part of our taxation reform. This motion is unnecessary in our view. Should the Assembly wish to support this motion, the government will, of course, claim executive privilege in relation to the documents as they inform cabinet deliberations in terms of the budget and in terms of broader government policy. That is entirely reasonable and available to us under standing order 213A.

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