The government's response to the Henry tax review is a missed opportunity to really transform Australia's tax system to deliver for the community and the environment now and in the future, the Greens said today.
The Greens will move in Parliament to pursue key Henry recommendations to which the Government had failed to respond, including increasing income support for students and the unemployed, removing the Fringe Benefit Tax concession that currently encourages company car use, and introducing road congestion taxes to fund public transport.
Acting Leader, Senator Christine Milne said the Government's response to the Henry Review had missed the opportunity for ‘root and branch' renewal by moving the tax burden away from labour and productivity and onto waste, inefficiency and unsustainable resource use, in favour of bigger tax breaks for big business.
"The Greens will act to ensure the community gets a better deal following from the Henry Review. In particular we will pursue Henry's recommendation that the base income rate for students and job seekers is increased," Australian Greens Acting Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.
"How is the whole-of-government approach to climate change and peak oil served by providing billions for new coal ports and coal railways?
"This tax review was the opportunity to re-design our cities for people rather than cars and to remove the billions of dollars of subsidies to fossil fuel industries through fuel tax credits."
The Greens welcome Ken Henry's call for a serious review of the level of compensation provided to emission intensive industries if a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme was passed.
"Ken Henry's support for a carbon tax also puts added pressure on the Government to negotiate with the Greens on our proposal."
Senator Milne welcomed the announcement of the Resource Super Profits Tax, but flagged improvements the Greens would seek to make on its structure.
"There is no evidence that revenue generated the Government's new Resource Super Profits Tax will be linked to an ongoing, long-term fund to provide for Australia's future."
"They have not planned for what happens when the boom busts.
"The Greens proposal for a National Resource Fund from the resource tax would establish a mechanism to put away benefits of the resource boom now for the future.
"The Greens also oppose the Government's reduction of company tax rates. A far better approach would be to take up Henry's recommendation to eventually replace payroll taxes which discourage employment with more efficient broad based taxes.
"It's is disappointing that the Henry Review did not go further in making specific announcements on tax arrangements for energy efficiency or renewable energy."