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Tax Expenditures Tabled

The Treasury's annual statement on tax expenditures* has just been issued. Here are the biggies:
The largest measured tax expenditures are the concessional capital gains taxation of owner-occupied housing (E4 and E5) which is estimated to provide a benefit to taxpayers of around $40 billion in 2010-11. Together, these tax expenditures represent the exemption of owner-occupied housing from CGT. After the owner-occupied housing exemption, the next largest tax expenditure is the concessional taxation of employer contributions to superannuation (C5) of around $14.3 billion in 2010-11. This is followed by the concessional taxation of superannuation entity earnings (C6) and the GST-free status of food (H28). These tax expenditures are estimated to provide benefits to taxpayers in 2010-11 of around $12.2 billion and $5.9 billion respectively. ...
There are a number of tax expenditures for which an estimate is not available but which have been assigned an order of magnitude classification (for details refer to Chapter 3). The largest such tax expenditures are as follows: philanthropy — income tax exemption for charitable, religious, scientific, and community service entities (B72); income tax exemption for Commonwealth, State and Territory public authorities, and State and Territory entities (B3); and quarantining of capital losses (E31).

* As the report puts it, "A tax expenditure is a provision of the tax law that provides a benefit to a specified activity or class of taxpayer that is concessional when compared to the ‘normal’ tax treatment that would apply. ... Tax expenditures can be provided in many forms, including tax exemptions, tax deductions, tax offsets, concessional tax rates or deferrals of tax liability."
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Social Capital, By Design

As a fan of ABC Radio National's By Design program, I was chuffed on Wednesday to be invited by host Alan Saunders to discuss social capital and the findings of my book "Disconnected". A podcast is available here.
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What I'm Reading

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Blue Sky Mining

I'm  looking for an office manager, with an ad today in the Canberra Times, The Australian, and on Seek. If you know anyone who might fit the bill, please encourage them to apply by Feb 1.

Dr Andrew Leigh MP

Member for Fraser


Applications are invited for the above position based in Canberra.

The duties of the positions include: managing a team of four other staff (plus volunteers), community engagement, liaising with government departments, preparing and coordinating correspondence, organising events and meetings.

Applicants should possess the following skills and experience:

  • Experience in managing a medium-sized team in a high-pressure environment

  • Passionate about community engagement

  • Hard working and enthusiastic about addressing local issues

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills

  • Well developed office IT skills

  • Extensive understanding of government and parliamentary processes

A commencing salary of up to $66,868 will be paid (plus allowances).

A probationary period of 3 months will apply.

Applications setting out details of experience and the names of two referees should be forwarded to andrew.leigh.mpATaph.gov.au

Applications close on 1 February 2011. For further information please contact Shobaz Kandola, acting office manager, on 02 6247 4396.

My previous office manager, Rick Youssef, has alas taken a job with Peter Garrett. So as well as having the chance to work with me and my talented team, I can claim that my alumni place exceedingly well!
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Indigenous Economic Development Inquiry - Sub Deadline Extended

If you're planning to make a submission to our House of Reps inquiry into Indigenous Economic Development in Queensland, you now have an additional three weeks.

Extension for submissions to the inquiry into Indigenous economic development in Queensland

The House of Representatives Economics Committee is continuing its inquiry into Indigenous economic development in Queensland and review of the Wild Rivers (Environmental Management) Bill 2010.

The Committee is examining the full range of issues affecting Indigenous economic development in Queensland including the operation of environmental and industry regulation.

“The Committee is, of course, well aware of the natural disaster that has befallen Queensland. Our thoughts go out to the communities that have been affected by these unprecedented floods” said the Chair of the Committee, Craig Thomson (Member for Dobell, NSW).

Given Queensland’s current circumstances, and that many involved in this inquiry are suffering hardship, the Committee has extended the closing date for submissions.

Submissions were due by Friday 28 January 2011, but this is now extended until Friday 18 February. Further extensions beyond this date can be negotiated with the Committee secretariat.

Further public hearings are now expected to be held in Queensland during the week beginning 7 March 2011. The Committee strongly encourages those who wish to participate in hearings to contact the Committee secretariat to register their interest. The secretariat will also be happy to provide further information about the inquiry and the submission and hearings process.

Submissions addressing the terms of reference should be emailed to [email protected] or sent to:

The Committee Secretary

House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics

PO Box 6021

Parliament House

Canberra ACT 2600

Further details about the inquiry, including the terms of reference and advice on how to make a submission, can be obtained from the committee’s website at www.aph.gov.au/economics

For further information: please contact the Committee secretariat on (02) 6277 4587 or email [email protected]
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Strengthening the Not-for-Profit sector

Media Release - 21 January 2011

Andrew Leigh, Federal Member for Fraser

Strengthening the not-for-profit sector

Federal Member for Fraser, Andrew Leigh, has welcomed the release of a consultation paper on the design of a new national regulator for the not‑for‑profit sector.

“This is part of the government’s commitment to strengthening the 600,000 or so not-for-profits and community organisations throughout Australia,” said Andrew Leigh.

“It’s about making it easier for not-for-profits to do what they do best – help people.

“We want to reduce red-tape and streamline processes so that the sector can spend more time servicing the needs of our most disadvantaged and vulnerable citizens.

“We want to hear from the sector on their ideas about delivering smarter regulation that reduces the compliance burden while improving transparency and accountability.

“This is the start of the process to deliver a “one-stop shop” regulator and the feedback from the sector while help determine its role, function and design,” concluded Andrew Leigh.

The consultation paper was today released by the Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten and Minister for Social Inclusion Tanya Plibersek.

In releasing the paper Mr Shorten and Ms Plibersek said Treasury will use the consultation paper to seek the views of stakeholders on the goals of national regulation, the scope of national regulation, and the functions and form of a national regulator.

Submissions in response to the paper close on February 25, 2011.  The consultation paper is available on the Treasury website at www.treasury.gov.au

MEDIA CONTACT: Shobaz Kandola: 6247 4396
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Age of the Infovore

From Tyler Cowen's The Age of the Infovore, a book about autism, information and economics:
What's next? We could benefit in further ways by adopting a better and deeper understanding of human neurodiversity. We could have a more practical understanding of the limits of formal education. We could be more skeptical about story-based reasoning and superficially appealing narratives; we also could become more resistant to obnoxious advertising and less bent on senseless revenge. We could understand better how a different mind can be an entertaining mind and perhaps a heroic mind. We could treat minorities, including autistic people, better. We could appreciate new and different forms of music and art, or at least we could be more tolerant of diverging aesthetic tastes. We could become better citizens, more cosmopolitan, more objective about our culture and nation, and better able to appreciate the benefits of the rule of law.

Tyler is also the author of Discover Your Inner Economist: Use Incentives to Fall in Love, Survive Your Next Meeting, and Motivate Your Dentist, which I greatly enjoyed.
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Flood Appeal

Gai Brodtmann and I have called on Canberrans to assist flood victims.
Canberrans called to dig deep for flood victims

Member for Canberra, Gai Brodtmann and Member for Fraser, Andrew Leigh today called on Canberrans to stand by the victims of the horrific Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australian floods.

“Canberrans have the highest rate of volunteering in the country, and we are generous contributors to our community and the nation,” said Ms Brodtmann.

“We received overwhelming support from all around the country during the bushfires that raged through the ACT eight years ago.

“I urge Canberrans to volunteer or donate what they can to help the victims of the floods,” said Ms Brodtmann.

The Gillard Government is working closely with the Queensland Government to ensure that Australian Defence Force resources are on call to aid search and rescue efforts in the State.

“Concessional interest rate loans of up to $250,000 and freight subsidies of up to $5,000 have been extended to 23 shires and councils as well as a range of emergency payments available to people affected by the floods,” said Dr Leigh.

“Australians naturally rally together in times of need and adversity. The flood victims in Queensland need our support,” they said.

Secure donations to the Premier’s Flood Appeal can be made online at http://telethon.smartservice.qld.gov.au/ or by credit card on 1800 219 028. Donations can also be made to St Vincent De Paul, the RSPCA, the Salvation Army and the Red Cross.
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Mile-High Economists

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Cnr Gungahlin Pl and Efkarpidis Street, Gungahlin ACT 2912 | 02 6247 4396 | [email protected] | Authorised by A. Leigh MP, Australian Labor Party (ACT Branch), Canberra.