The mountain labored …
… and brought forth a mouse
That’s my initial reaction to this ABC report of government’s response to the Henry Review of Taxation. All that effort, five months of waiting and we get a Resource Rent Tax and some tweaks to superannuation and company tax. Just about everything else has gone into the too hard basket.
An intriguing exception, it seems, is the proposal for congestion charges to replace existing road user charges, which has been neither accepted nor ruled out. Judging by the speed at which the Bligh government ran from the idea, I’d have thought this one would be very much too hard (if not as much so as the most sensible measure in the whole list, replacing existing burdens on homebuyers with a land tax paid by homeowners). I can’t see that happening, but I’m surprised to see it still a live option.
The Resource Rent Tax is a step forward, especially in the current environment where a booming minerals sector is placing all kinds of pressure on other sectors. And, I guess, it wouldn’t have been politically feasible a year ago, when the miners looked to be in trouble. So, I guess the delay hasn’t cost too much, and the Henry Review gives future governments an agenda that will last them a while.
When I get a bit more time, I’ll try and respond properly to the Review. Obviously, there’s no rush.
Stephen Long has a similar view