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Tax reform needed despite improvements to WA economy

March 19, 2017

Tax reform needed despite improvements to WA economy

Shane Wright, The West Australian, 18 March 2017

The WA economy is showing signs it has turned the corner but the Turnbull Government is under pressure to revisit its company tax cuts and deliver much bigger tax reform to the nation.

ANZ’s measure of State-by-State activity shows the WA economy, while still one of the worst-performing parts of the Commonwealth, is on the mend.

Job figures this week showed a steep fall in the unemployment rate and a further lift in full-time employment.

The ANZ said the lift in the jobs market was a clear indicator that the worst may be over.

“The improvement in the State’s labour market has been the prime driver of the turnaround,” the bank said.

“In addition, rising export volumes and the recent pick-up in resource prices are adding to growth.”

The ANZ report came as the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, in its annual outlook on policies developed countries should adopt to boost growth, said the Turnbull Government should be far more ambitious.

The Government is focused on its company tax cut that would see the corporate rate reduced to 25 per cent gradually over the next decade.

But the OECD said it was clear Australia needed to go further in terms of tax reform, urging Mr Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison to look at the GST as well as targeting State-based taxes such as payroll and land tax.

“While the tax measures under way are largely welcome a wider package of tax reforms should be developed,” it said.

“Raising the rate of the GST and/or widening the base in combination with further cuts in direct taxation and the removal of inefficient taxes would bring more substantial returns.”