Ahead of an Economics Committee Senate estimates hearing this morning, Bernie Ripoll and I put out a joint release raising concern about budget cuts to ASIC and the ATO.
THE HON BERNIE RIPOLL MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES & SUPERANNUATION
MEMBER FOR OXLEY
ANDREW LEIGH MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER
SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMPETITION
MEMBER FOR FRASER
ABBOTT GOVERNMENT SENDS WRONG MESSAGE TO TAX DODGERS AND CORPORATE CRIMINALS
It’s never been to a better time for tax dodgers and white collar criminals as the Abbott Government slashes staff at the Australian Tax Office and hits resources available to the corporate watchdog, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.
The Coalition talks about the importance of the rule of law, but 3000 fewer ATO jobs and swingeing cuts to ASIC will lead to the rule of the jungle.
ASIC’s budget has been slashed by $120 million over five years, representing a cut of around 6 per cent of its budget over that time.
ASIC chief Greg Medcraft has revealed it will mean ASIC’s surveillance of markets and the financial industry will be greatly reduced, with the regulator relying more heavily on whistle-blowers and tip offs from the general public to fight corruption.
“What it means is that we don't have the luxury of doing as much proactive surveillance."
ASIC Chairman, Greg Medcraft, Stockbrokers Australia Conference, 30 May 2014
Australia has a reputation as a safe and functioning marketplace, largely due to the excellent role played by our corporate regulators. But it stands to reason that if you slash the number of police officers, you can expect to catch fewer criminals.
The cuts leave the door open wider for another potential Storm Financial–type scam.
Like ASIC, the performance of the ATO has been compromised by stingey cuts that benefit people who wish to see less transparency and tax raised to pay for our schools and hospitals.
The ATO is the worst hit agency under a nasty federal budget that decimates the Australian Public Service, with cuts totalling $142.8 million over the forward estimates.
ASIC is due to provide evidence this morning (from 9am) during a Senate budget estimates hearing. The ATO is scheduled to appear tomorrow (Thursday) morning.
WEDNESDAY, 4 JUNE 2014
MEDIA CONTACTS: CHRIS RAMSAY 0430 009 434 (RIPOLL)
TONI HASSAN 0426 207 726 (LEIGH)