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12 Aug 11 Preamble - Friday 12 August 2011

This week global economic uncertainty gripped the financial markets and had a significant effect on sentiment.  In Australia, both consumer confidence and business confidence levels are weak, as we await the local impact of the global situation.  Yesterday’s unemployment figures show an increase for the first time in close to a year, with a jobless rate of 5.1 per cent.  The likelihood of an interest rate reduction at next month’s Reserve Bank meeting has increased significantly, as economic growth fears filter through the community.

These events, coupled with the cost of the carbon price package, place increased pressure on the Government and its commitment to bring the Budget back to surplus next year.  

However, it is crucial that our economic and budgetary situation is not used as an excuse to delay the hard work on policy formulation that is required to improve our tax system and ensure that Australia is well positioned for the challenges of the next 40 years.  We must do the heavy-lifting now, to ensure the tax reform debate continues and that there is a medium-term plan for reform in the coming years as our balance sheet improves.

The Tax Institute is continuing to lead the debate on tax reform and work towards a better tax system.  I will be attending the Government’s Tax Forum in October and I expect that many members will also be in attendance in their personal capacity.

Ahead of this, however, is The Great Tax Debate: Constructing Tomorrow's Tax System, on 31 August in Sydney.   This Tax Institute event is being run in conjunction with the Australian Tax Research Foundation and will allow members and non-members alike access to expert perspectives on the tax reform debate. A series of speeches will be incorporated with a Q&A panel session - your chance to directly engage in the debate.

Key independent MP, Rob Oakeshott, and Opposition Assistant Treasurer, Senator Mathias Cormann, have so far accepted invitations to speak at the event.  Rob Oakeshott was one of the key drivers behind the Government’s commitment to host the October Tax Forum and has a keen interest in ensuring that tax reform is effectively and thoroughly debated in Australia.

Others confirmed to speak are: Greg Smith, former Henry Review panellist and current Adjunct Professor at the Australian Catholic University; Henry Ergas, Senior Economic Adviser, Deloitte Access Economics; Cassandra Goldie, Chief Executive Officer, ACOSS; and Adam Creighton, Research Fellow, Centre for Independent Studies.

There is no charge to attend this event, but spaces are limited so please register (whether you would like to attend in person or access the live web stream) at  

Please see below for details of other activities this week.


Robert Jeremenko FTIA