Melbourne Economic Forum tackles company tax

Is a company tax rate cut the best approach? Should the base of company tax be changed along the lines being contemplated by the Trump administration or perhaps that recommended by the Henry Review?

These and other questions were vigorously debated at a well-attended mini-summit held at the University’s City campus on Tuesday 11 April.

The event opened with an address by Professor Peter Dixon (Centre of Policy Studies) from Victoria University, and included presentations by the following experts:

  • Professor Ross Garnaut, University of Melbourne
  • Professor John Freebairn, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Jim Minifie, Grattan Institute
  • Professor Miranda Stewart, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Craig Emerson, Victoria University.

Professor Garnaut’s address, based on his opinion piece in The Financial Review, suggested Australia should consider US President Donald Trump’s plan, which could stop multinational corporations from avoiding tax. “Our existing tax base for the corporate income tax is in deep trouble,” he told the forum.

Director of the Tax and Transfer Policy Institute at Australian National University, Professor Miranda Stewart, said the current corporate tax base had been eroded and that Australia was not competing with havens such as the Bahamas. The Melbourne Economic Forum also discussed ways to shore up the company tax base in the age of Netflix, Google and Apple, while Professor Rod Maddock (Economics) from Victoria University questioned whether abolishing the wholesale sales tax was a mistake.

The Melbourne Economic Forum is a joint collaboration between Victoria University and the University of Melbourne. It is run in association with the Australian Financial Review.

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