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Business ramps up pressure on Tony Abbott over tax reform 22 MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Business is ramping up pressure on the Prime Minister to convince state and territory leaders to broker a courageous deal on tax reform, in particular the GST.

But the Australian Industry Group, which represents the manufacturing sector, says raising the GST and broadening its base should be more than just extracting new revenue to fill the funding gap. You've got to look at taxes like motor vehicle taxes, stamp duty pandora braclets and of course payroll tax. They're the three big ones. All of those in some ways are holding us back from being competitive and they're just revenue raisers for the states and we could do it much more efficiently. PETER RYAN: Now these taxes, in particular stamp duty, are critical to state and territory coffers so no treasurer is going to give up this tax revenue without a fight. INNES WILLOX: Well we would hope that they would at least be prepared to have the conversation. The first part of recognising we have a problem is talking about it and we do have a problem when it comes to our tax base. So of course they're not going to give up those taxes without some sort of compensation or without knowledge that they will be recompensed in some way. That's why we have to open the Pandora's Box around the GST and have that conversation. PETER RYAN: Do you agree that in abolishing some of these state and territory taxes that that would create a political earthquake that pandora charm bracelet charms could even rock pandora bracelet sale the federation as we know it? INNES WILLOX: If you talk to any business leader they'll tell you that payroll tax is rally a preventer of them employing people. It holds them back from growth. Stamp duty is (inaudible) inflated costs on house prices which in turns leads to labour immobility, which is a big problem that we have. The federation was brought together over a hundred years ago in different times, in a different dynamic and we've had changes since. The Federal Government took over income tax powers in the 1940s from the states. You know, we've done that before. You know, we now need to, we're now at the point where we now need to look seriously at how the states raise revenue and of course how that revenue is then distributed. PETER RYAN: Given the lack of consensus across states and territories on how the GST should be lifted, how critical is today's leaders' retreat in getting around these vested interests and the revenue firewalls that are in place? INNES WILLOX: Look, it's absolutely crucial that this meeting go ahead and in a good spirit, and that no premier or leader just puts up the stop sign before they walk in the door. We hope that reform isn't dead within Australia and the best symbol of ensuring that we do have a reform spirit that is alive is to at least start the conversation around taxation reform that we hope will come from today. If we were to stop this conversation today, if it was to be stillborn, that would set the reform process back a decade or more. PETER RYAN: If not a rise in the rate of the GST, is there merit at all in raising the Medicare levy, as suggested by the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews? INNES WILLOX: All that would do would be to raise some revenue and hypothecate it to one particular source, that's the health budget. That's a conversation to have as well. It's part of our demographic challenge. As we age as a society, we have to find ways to fund our health programs. But as a whole it wouldn't solve the overall problems that we have about our competitiveness and allowing our economy to grow more quickly and more coherently. So in itself, that is not going to be an answer to our problems. PETER RYAN: Another issue is that there's a very big lack of trust between the Federal Government and also the states and territories. But ultimately this is about leadership and the Prime Minister's ability to step aside from politics and get a result. INNES WILLOX: This is also a test of all the leaders' ability to step aside from politics and get a result. And certainly within the business community there's a growing sense of unease about the political process and the results that it's delivering. So today's meeting will be a very clear test of how that political process can serve us in the years ahead. MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: The chief executive of the Australian Industry Group Innes Willox with our business editor Peter Ryan. Around 500 Indigenous people fought in the First World War, cheap pandora and as many as 5,000 in the second.

But many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander diggers who made it home received little or no recognition for their contribution. On Anzac Day, 2007, the first parade to commemorate their efforts and bravery was held in Sydney. Listen to our report from that day by Lindy Kerin.


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