Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she’s determined to start reforming the tax system now and won’t wait for the results of a national tax forum.
Treasurer Wayne Swan has pushed back the tax forum – a key promise to the independents in the deal to form minority government – by four months to October 4-5.
The forum is set to cover personal tax, transfer payments, business tax, state taxes, environmental and social taxes, and tax system governance.
Ms Gillard told reporters in Canberra she did not want to delay decisions on tax reform just because the tax forum was being held later in the year.
“We are getting on with the job – it’s a government of action, a government of decision and delivery,” Ms Gillard said.
“Yes, we will have a tax forum later in the year and there will be plenty for that tax forum to focus on, but I am not going to engage in days of inaction waiting for that tax forum.”
The government is aiming to take carbon pricing legislation to parliament in the second half of 2011.
Tax cuts for low and middle income earners, welfare reform, industry assistance and renewable energy programs are expected to be included in the final carbon pricing package.
The government is also working with industry on the final details of its minerals resource rent tax, and will introduce a one-off flood recovery tax in 2011/12.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says Labor has broken another promise by delaying the forum and wants to avoid scrutiny of its “tax binge”.
Independent MP Rob Oakeshott has no problem with the delay, saying he is more concerned with outcomes.
In the lead-up to the tax forum there will be a discussion paper and website on reform.
Meanwhile, the opposition is continuing its accusation of the Greens forcing the government into introducing a carbon tax.
NSW Nationals MP Mark Coulton said he had visited a pub at Gravesend near Moree over the weekend.
The locals there had told him to tell Australia Greens leader Bob Brown to take personal action on climate change.
“He should perhaps go out on to his front verandah and grab hold of the fuse and just pull it out and live without electricity,” Mr Coulton said.