Scott Morrison meets with RBA chief Glenn Stevens
Members of the small business community have welcomed a fresh approach to tax reform flagged by newly appointed Treasurer Scott Morrison, who says he wants to spend more time talking to voters and less time on cumbersome tax reports which end up being “doorstops”.
Peter Strong, executive director of the Council of Small Business of Australia, told SmartCompany this morning COSBOA will send Morrison a personal invitation to meet with small business owners to discuss their tax reform priorities.
Morrison, who took over as Treasurer from Joe Hockey on the weekend, told Fairfax the government must do a better job of explaining to taxpayers why reform is needed.
“There’s been lots of bright shiny documents over the last five or so years and they’re all very thick and they end up being too often door-stops,” the Treasurer said.
“I don’t want what I do on tax to be like that and I know that the only way that these things can be successful is if you engage people and their appetite for the things tax reforms will deliver.”
“As a government what we need to do more of in the months ahead is talk more about what lower, simpler, fairer taxes actually deliver people and why that helps them,” Morrison said.
“It’s important to go over that ground a lot more than we have.”
The former social services minister also claimed he will stay away from “combative” politics.
“To get a discussion around the types of things we’ve just been talking about, whether it’s in tax or whether it’s in productivity, competition policy, trade or whatever, then you need to remove some of these shackles that the combative style of politics has placed on things,” Morrison said.
Strong welcomed Morrison’s approach.
“Good on him,” Strong says.
“It is saying that tax reform will be embraced by most people and that is spot on.”
While Strong says expert opinion and formal reviews have their place, he agrees the first step for reforming the tax system is to “talk to people about what they want”.
Morrison’s comments come amid speculation Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had halted work on the tax reform white paper process initiated by former prime minister Tony Abbott and former treasurer Joe Hockey.
Turnbull yesterday disputed a Fairfax report that one of his first moves as prime minister was to put the process on ice.
“This story is not true,” the Prime Minister tweeted on Wednesday.
“Tax reform is at the centre of our efforts to create a more productive, innovative economy.”
Morrison has also confirmed work is continuing on the tax reform white process but indicated the government may now be willing to consider a wider range of reform options, including changes to superannuation, capital gains tax and negative gearing.
SmartCompany contacted the Department of Treasury but did not receive a response prior to publication.