The year 2001 marked the centenary of the Australian Federation, and the new century promised fresh opportunities as technology developments and an emerging resources boom drove economic growth and revenues. The consequent strong fiscal position perhaps offered a chance to ‘buy’ some more tax reform. However, the 2008 global financial crisis (GFC), and associated fiscal stimulus packages, interrupted that momentum. While the Australian economy regained its low-inflation growth path, a fraught political situation further obviated opportunities for tax reform. From early 2020, the COVID-19 crisis then drove Australia into recession and the focus moved to macroeconomic stabilisation.
This paper covers the limited tax reform developments over the last 20 years, in particular the 2009 Australia’s Future Tax System review and the 2015 tax white paper process with its Re:think discussion paper.