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Corporate tax avoidance endemic: billions lost to the big end of town

Media Release
Christine Milne 10 Apr 2015

At the conclusion of three days of hearings in the Senate corporate tax avoidance inquiry, Greens Leader Christine Milne says it is clear that tax avoidance by big business in Australia is endemic and that immediate steps must be taken to prevent furtherĀ billions in tax being lost to the big end of town.

"Corporate tax avoidance in Australia is endemic. Big business is taking us all for a ride. We need more transparency, not more secrets," Greens Leader Christine Milne said.

"Billions are being lost to Australians via so-called aggressive tax planning that could be spent on schools, hospitals and creating jobs.

"Big corporates are exploiting loopholes in our tax laws and the global nature of their business to avoid tax. That means that it is Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey's job to act now.

"We cannot wait for the OECD, we must resource the tax office adequately and legislate appropriate changes now.

"Unfortunately the Abbott government talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk. To date it prefers to protect its mates at the big end of town. For example, it wants to keep the tax affairs of wealthy private companies secret on the basis of farcical excuses about kidnapping.

"Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey are going to extreme lengths to defend the indefensible and protect the profits of the big end of town.

"As well as increased transparency and reporting of subsidiaries, strengthening the tax act on profit shifting and properly resourcing the tax office, some further immediate steps we can take have been identified during the inquiry.

"I am calling on the Abbott government to immediately make public the ATO's settlement register so that everyone knows to what extent we are missing out on revenue from the big end of town.

"I am also calling for immediate action to legally protect private-sector whistle-blowers who are exposing the behaviour of multinationals in their so-called aggressive tax planning.

"If Joe Hockey and the Abbott government are to have any credibility on corporate tax avoidance then we need more transparency, not more secrets."

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