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Tax reform and social welfare: Report of proceedings of a public seminar paper

Published on 01 Jan 80 by Australian Tax Research Foundation

The first paper, by Mr Peter Allen, reviews recent changes in the income security and taxation areas and the effects they have had on income
distribution and the numbers of poor people and then goes on to discuss some of the problems associated with current reform proposals.
It is followed by Prof. Ronald Henderson's contribution, which outlines his concern at some of the inequalities associated with the present
tax systems, describes a number of ways in which it could be improved and points out that changing the tax system alone is not enough, because a great many people who do not pay any taxes at all are in deep poverty.

A contribution by Messrs Daryl Dixon and David Ryder on behalf of the Social Welfare Policy Secretariat brings to attention some of the difficulties
of principle and practice, both social and economic, that arise where changes to the tax system are being considered. Mr Ian Wilson outlines the proposals for tax reform and welfare benefits which have been advocated by his parliamentary working party. He describes what his committee sees to be their advantages and how they might be financed. He is followed by Ms Meredith Edwards, who takes up and critically examines at some length what she regards as the major weaknesses of his proposals.

Senator Don Grimes describes some of the practical and political difficulties involved in proposals for reform of the tax and welfare systems and
calls for a proper examination and evaluation of proposed and actual welfare programmes to ensure that they do distribute wealth to those in
need and do work to the advantage of the poor. Finally, Dr. Peter Groenewegen presents a detailed and carefully argued paper in which he develops a scenario for Australia's tax system through to the mid 80s, discusses some of the tax options which are available to the government and urges that those interested in social welfare should start now to plan a program for a social security package which would be compatible with likely developments in taxation. The seminar concluded with a panel discussion of the issues raised by the speakers. A summary of the comments made follows the speakers' papers and this report concludes with a largely statistical appendix of facts and data relevant to the topic which were prepared by ACOSS and made available to the participants.

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Australian Tax Research Foundation (ATRF)
The aim of the Australian Tax Research Foundation is to research taxation at all levels of government (Federal, State and Local) with a view to arriving at systems which are simple, fair and efficient. In pursuing its objectives, the Foundation will commission expert and impartial research, and convene seminars and workshops, into all aspects of taxation systems in Australia which are of current concern and relevance to governments and the wider community. The results of such research will, subject of approval of the Board of Governors of the Foundation, be published and widely disseminated to all those concerned with the formulation of tax policy and to business, union, welfare and other interest groups and to tertiary institutions. The Foundation will also undertake commissions from governments, bureaucracies, business and other groups to provide and publish impartial information on all aspects of taxation. - Current at 19 October 2012


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