Media & Speeches

Speech by BCA President Catherine Livingstone to the BCA–PwC Tax Forum

In this speech to a forum jointly hosted by the Business Council of Australia and PwC, BCA President Catherine Livingstone outlines why the need for comprehensive and considered tax reform is now urgent and profound, in order to keep the economy growing and to fund a strong social safety net.

The Future of Tax: Australia’s Current Tax System is the first in a series of papers that the Business Council of Australia will release in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Government’s tax white paper reform process. It presents a platform for discussion and for building a shared understanding of why tax reform matters, the problems we are seeking to address, and agreement on broad directions and processes on how Australia might embark on comprehensive tax reform.

In the speech, Ms Livingstone says that if the government’s tax reform white paper is to move the nation towards meaningful reform, those who care about this need to work together to achieve three broad objectives, which are to:

  • build community understanding of the role we need our tax system to play
  • promote greater recognition that the current system is no longer fit for purpose in a very different global economic environment
  • find agreement among ourselves on the broad directions and processes for Australia to embark on comprehensive tax reform.

Ms Livingstone says as we embark on tax reform, there also needs to be a plan and cross-party commitment to address structural issues on the spending side of the budget, including clarifying the roles and responsibilities of the Commonwealth and state and territory governments through the federation white paper.