The Government has now spent almost $1.1 million in consultant fees alone for the Tax White Paper, despite the most senior Treasury officials being uncertain whether it will ever see the light of day.
In Estimates hearings this morning, Treasury confirmed it has spent $444,000 on contracts with KPMG and EconTech for economic modelling. This comes on top of the $650,000 in advertising, design and market research costs revealed during last year’s Estimates hearings.
When asked whether the Tax White Paper process was alive or dead, Treasury Secretary John Fraser said he was still “waiting for direction” from the Government.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann appeared completely unaware that his Prime Minister had all but junked the process and indicated details of the Government’s tax plans would instead appear in the budget.
Having overcome his surprise, Mr Cormann then tried to downplay the importance of this two-year long tax review process, describing the white paper as simply “stationery”.
How can this Government have spent over $1 million without arriving at agreement on whether to even release a white paper, let alone its content?
Perhaps what Mr Cormann meant to say is that his Government’s plans for tax reform are now completely “stationary” as the paralysis and infighting that characterised the Abbott years rolls on.
WEDNESDAY, 10 FEBRUARY 2016
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