Oxfam Australia has welcomed Treasurer Joe Hockey’s announcement today of further efforts to act on multinational tax dodging, but urges the government to use its G20 presidency to ensure that global tax reform benefits poor countries as well as rich ones.
Oxfam Australia’s G20 spokesperson Jo Pride said high levels of tax dodging by multinationals and wealthy individuals were draining away revenues from national budgets in rich and poor countries around the world.
“Lost tax revenue means that countries miss out on vital funds that could go towards services such as health and education,” Ms Pride said.
“Oxfam is pleased to see Mr Hockey’s comments that Australia will lead the G20 to make our international tax system fairer for all countries, whether they are fully developed economies or not.
“However, to do this, Australia, as G20 president , must show bolder leadership to ensure that developing countries are much more involved in decision-making on the OECD-led process on global tax reform.”
As part of global tax reform, new measures to be agreed by the G20 will require business entities to disclose their taxes in each country that they operate.
This will help ensure that companies pay their fair share of tax where value is created and real economic activities occur.
“However, Australia should lead the charge for greater transparency and make this information publically available, so that citizens can see if companies are really paying their fair share of tax, and call them to account,” she said.
Ms Pride said that whilst the Treasurer had highlighted the issue of tax avoidance by digital brands in developed countries like Australia, the role of other industries such as mining – which is central to the economies of many developing countries – should not be spared the spotlight.
“Australia, as a mining giant, could go further and show leadership to ensure that mining companies operating in developing countries also pay their fair share of tax; other nations are taking action on this issue and Australia is falling behind,” she said.
Ms Pride said that at the G20, Australia should support the development of a global transparency standard for extractive industries and agree to adopt legislation that requires oil, gas and mining companies to publish payments made to governments in the countries in which they operate, consistent with United States and European Union legislation.
“Reforming the international tax regime and increasing transparency will not only help lift people out of poverty and reduce dependency on aid, but will help the G20 achieve its aims this year for stronger economic growth and employment,” she said.
For interviews, please contact Laurelle Keough on 0425 701 801