An old Nicholson cartoon from THE AGE

The current tax system continues to reward rent-seeking in the “game of mates” being played out at great cost to the Australian community.

It wasn’t always thus. Australia had an even better record than the USA (below), in capturing back some of the uplift in property values provided by services and public infrastructure – at all 3 levels of government. (The USA did it only at local and state levels.)

The recommendations of “Australia’s Future Tax System” (2010), namely, abolishing some 120 taxes and relying on 4 only, income tax, the goods and services tax, an all-in land tax and a mining tax, though moving in the right direction, have largely been ignored.

What then does it take to reform a tax regime that fosters speculative rent-seeking, the pumping up of asset values and the taxing of wages, instead of genuine productivity and wealth creation?

Where is the Productivity Commission on this? It appears to be failing in its duties, in no lesser fashion than the Banking Royal Commission found APRA and ASIC to have issues in this regard.