The Shadow Treasurer Dr Steve Thomas has today welcomed the introduction of a Bill by the Government that will provide modest duty relief, calling it a small but important first step in the direction of taxation reform.

“It is good to see the Government looking at tax reform, and although this first step is small, I hope that this marks the beginning of a real agenda for reform” Dr Thomas said.

“Hopefully this is just a tiny taste of what we can expect in the May state budget.”

“Tax revenue has ballooned here in WA in recent years, with the last Quarterly Financial Results Report released in February indicating that Government tax income was up $844 million in the first six months of this financial year compared with the same period last financial year.”

“While I welcome this bill, which predicts a total return back to taxpayers of an expected $7.3 million as indicated in the Government’s media release today, it is a modest return from a Government that can afford to return much more.”

“The Government has been predicted to reach a budget surplus as high as $8 billion this financial year, and although I think this might be too optimistic, it is highly likely that they will match or exceed last year’s $5.8 billion bonanza surplus.”

“This means that this welcome tax relief is less than 1% of the additional tax they are reaping in and 0.1% of the expected surplus, and the Government has an enormous opportunity for much greater tax relief.”

“The move to reduce the general rate of duty to the same level as the residential rate, which attracts a concession, is a welcome move.

Dr Thomas said that tax reform needs to occur when the budget was showing a health surplus, and the current surpluses were the greatest in history.

“No State Government in Australia’s history has had bigger surpluses, so no State Government anywhere in our country has had a better opportunity to reform its tax system.”

“I call on the McGowan Government to deliver a much broader tax reform package, including addressing payroll tax, at this time of great fiscal plenty.

“To reveal another $6 billion surplus, or even more, without a real and adequate tax preform package will be the greatest lost opportunity for economic reform in our lifetimes.”