Unions will strongly resist any agenda at tomorrow’s Tax Forum to reduce company taxes or increase the heavy tax burden already unfairly carried by Australia’s low and middle income earners.
ACTU Secretary Jeff Lawrence said there was a danger that the corporate lobby will hijack the forum to pursue an agenda of lower business taxes which would create further inequity in the tax system.
“A major purpose of the Tax Forum must be how to make the tax system better for working people, and those who want to work,” Mr Lawrence said.
“Reform should not imply an unending series of cuts to business tax and tax rates for high-income Australians. It should strengthen, not weaken, governments’ ability to provide high-quality public services and social security that Australians want, need and deserve.”
In a series of discussion papers published in the lead up to the forum, the ACTU has argued:
Mr Lawrence said research commissioned by the ACTU showed most Australians support a more progressive income tax system as a tool towards a reducing wealth inequality.
“Real tax reform is reform that is directed towards satisfying Australians’ needs and preferences, and that positions Australia well for the future,” Mr Lawrence said.
“Real reform ensures that the tax system treats people of similar means equally, without allowing some to exploit loopholes to avoid their obligations. It means a progressive tax system, to ensure that all Australians pay their fair share.
“Real reform will also ensure that the tax system is as simple and efficient as it can be, without sacrificing other aims in the name of simplicity or efficiency.
We must not allow the tax debate to be hijacked by a business agenda, but to reflect the type of society the majority of Australians aspire to be.”