The Commonwealth Tax Forum to be held in Canberra tomorrow should be an opportunity to properly examine the interaction of state and federal taxes and the appropriate sharing of spending responsibilities.
Victorian Treasurer Kim Wells said it is concerning that the Gillard Labor Government has failed to put forward any concrete proposals to achieve a fairer distribution of national tax revenue amongst the states, to reduce inefficient taxes, or to reduce government expenditure that could result in lower taxes.
"The carbon tax and GST distribution are the top two taxation issues that will impact on Victoria's ability to deliver services and reduce taxes, yet these issues have been ruled off limits at the Tax Forum," Mr Wells said.
"Victoria supports the abolition of inefficient state taxes, however the Federal Government must also acknowledge that any significant reform of inefficient state taxes such as stamp duties would require substantial replacement revenue.
"Victoria is willing to examine any reform proposals that are put forward at the Tax Forum, but would have reservations about any replacement that used the current unfair and fundamentally flawed GST relativities," Mr Wells said.
This year Victoria has been unfairly punished by the Commonwealth with a snap cut of an unprecedented and unjustified $2.5 billion in GST revenue.
The development of a national reform agenda to reduce federal and state administrative duplication could significantly cut government expenditure requirements.
Eliminating overlaps across state and federal bureaucracy represents a real opportunity to cut government costs and reduce pressure on government budgets.
The Victorian Coalition Government has already undertaken initial reforms to the state tax system including a progressive 50 per cent cut in stamp duty for first home buyers that is fully funded in the State Budget.
In addition, Victoria has also embarked on the long overdue reform to replace the insurance based fire services levy with a property-based levy.
Victorian Treasurer Kim Wells said the focus of national tax reform should be to reduce the overall tax burden on businesses and households by eliminating and reducing taxes, not just replacing one tax with another.