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Media Release
The Hon Dr Sharman Stone MP
Federal Member for Murray
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
for the Environment and Heritage

25 June 1999

Stone Welcomes Senate Vote on Australia's New Tax System

Federal Member for Murray, Sharman Stone MP, today welcomed news that the Senate had passed the Federal Government's A New Tax System legislation.

"This is an historic day for Australia and for the people of the Federal Electorate of Murray."

"The Federal Government's new tax system will deliver vital tax reform that will restore fairness and equity, and provide renewed incentive for families, individual taxpayers and business to work hard and save," Dr Stone said.

"In particular veterans, pensioners and self-funded retirees, who represent a significant proportion of the Murray community, will be better off under the new tax system."

"All pensions and government benefits will be increased by 6% up-front, and are guaranteed to remain at least 2% above any increases in the cost of living arising from the introduction of the GST."

Dr Stone said that tax reform was long overdue, with the current system designed for the 1930s economy not the next millenniums'.

"Australia's current taxation system is outdated, unfair and unnecessarily complex. It levies a raft of hidden indirect taxes on some everyday household items, but not others."

"The new tax system will mean that everyone pays their fair share of tax."

Legislation to deliver $12 billion in tax cuts will be voted on in the Senate on Monday along with legislation to abolish wholesales sales taxes.

"The new personal income tax rates will mean that 80% ordinary taxpayers who earn up to $50,000 a year will be paying a top tax rate of 30c in the dollar," Dr Stone said.

As well as delivering substantial tax cuts, the new tax system will provide a secure funding base for public services such as schools, hospitals, roads and other essential services.

"The new diesel fuel rebate for farmers and other rural industries, a cut of 23 cents per litre, will also significantly reduce the costs for the Goulburn-Murray Valley's food and fibre industry."

Road transport costs will be slashed by an estimated $1 billion a year. Rail costs are estimated to drop by $160 million a year.

Dr Stone said that the good news for farmers about the reduction in diesel fuel costs came on top of the recent announcement of $23 million to upgrade the Goulburn Valley Highway and $16 million for duplication of the Calder Highway.

"This additional funding will make a huge difference to our local food and fibre industry and will ensure 'A-grade' fruit and vegetables reach shops in the same condition as when it was packed on the transport," Dr Stone said.

"This legislation will ensure Australia has a modern, fair and transparent tax system well into the next century; a tax system that will provide a framework for jobs growth, increased exports and investment, and an increased standard of living for all Australians," Dr Stone said.

The legislation was passed through the Senate today with the support of the Australian Democrats.

The new tax system takes effect from July 1 next year.

For further information please contact:
Nicole Johnston (02) 6277 2106 or 0419 219 415

Commonwealth of Australia