Published: 18 May 2020

An upper house politician has called on her colleagues to have an honest conversation about the state of Tasmania's tax system.

Murchison MLC Ruth Forrest on Saturday said she does not have all the answers, but it is clear there are inefficiencies and vast inequity in the state's revenue streams.

She said that under the current system there "no link" between growth in the economy and benefits for Tasmanians; a problem which will only be amplified by the economic fallout of the pandemic.

"Its wishful thinking that we can increase our own tax revenue to close the funding gap given that before COVID-19 revenue growth was failing to keep up with needs.

"We have a badly designed tax system that won't close the funding gap as the Premier says."

She said 20 per cent of the state's revenue come from local taxes including payroll, stamp duty and land tax - which she said all have problems.

"But you can't broaden the land tax without looking at how that would effect stamp duty."

She also said there needs to be a focus on the education and training of women in the workforce, as they had been disproportionately affected by job losses and the economic downturn.

On Sunday, shadow treasurer David O'Byrne said the state government's plans to build itself out of disaster by fast tracking construction projects was a "sugar rush" approach.

"Peter Gutwein is talking about paintbrush ready and screwdriver ready projects. We need to be thinking about cultivating the industries to make the paint and manufacture the screwdrivers."

The Advocate 18 May, 2020

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