According to Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan, Australia is a ‘pretty unique’ economy and he believes that the tax system needs to reflect the same.
“We are relatively isolated from the world in a geographical sense,” he told delegates attending the two-day tax summit at Canberra’s Parliament House. “Yet few countries adopted imported technology and fashions as readily as Australia,” he said.
“Our people are distributed right across the nation, yet we are one of the most urbanised countries in the world,” Wayne Swan added.
Mr Swan said those in charge now owed it to future generations to invest sensibly the returns from the mining boom. There would be new opportunities, well beyond the boom, he added.
“The middle class in the Asia Pacific is growing by 110 million a year and this means opportunities for tourism, education and manufacturing,” Mr Swan said.
The treasurer said a fact often obscured was that Australia’s taxes were low. “The tax system was simpler, fairer and stronger than the system we inherited from our predecessors,” he added. But he admitted it was far from perfect.
“Our task is to envisage what else can be done to create the kind of tax-and-transfer system that best serves Australians.”
The system must deliver a dignified life to Australians and increase workforce participation, he said.
And Australia must ensure it had the infrastructure ‘for a faster fast lane’’ but also addressed the challenges of those in ‘the slow lane’.